This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by Starward. This in no way influenced the final outcome of this review.
Yes, we had another delightful gift from Starward, the Nova Australian Single Malt, or as they say "A delicious whisky deviant". Like it's sibling, Two-Fold Double Grain, the use of brewer's years and red wine barrel maturation are the norm for this Single Malt. Starward keeps everything as local as possible, whether it is the Australian malted barley or the wine barrels from nearby Yarra Valley and Barossa Valley. Interestingly, the barrel entry proof is lower than other single malts, in order to absorb more of the red wine characteristics. Wild Turkey is another distillery that is known for this kind of thing, basically keeping the whiskey as close to its barrel matured flavor as possible.
So, my favorite style of whisky is Scotch, not by a large margin but it definitely qualifies. This makes me extremely curious about all styles of Single Malts. I've had a few American Single Malts, all of which are young, but some are delicious. Much like Scotland, the climate changes across the world highly affect the maturation process. Single Malts from Pennsylvania have much different characteristics than those from Washington. Obviously, I was very curious how this would translate to Australia, and Melbourne's "four seasons in a day".
2 years old
"Born & Bred" in Melbourne, Australia
Double distilled 100% Australian malted barley
Bottled at 41% ABV (82 proof)
Matured in Australian Red Wine Barrels
Age: 2 years bottled at 82 proof
Ripe red apples and honey are most apparent. There is a touch of bitter oak in the background. After a little time in the glass some tart orchard fruit, maybe a peach, comes forward. There is a brulee sugar sweetness lingering at the edges as well.
Light and refreshing on entry, the red apples are almost overcome by the bitter oak initially but the oak subsides quickly. There is just a hint of vanilla as well.
Red apples and peaches mingle nicely. The vanilla appears again, not quite with the brulee sugar feel but sweeter like real vanilla bean. The finish lingers a bit and just barely gets warm.
Any single malt that isn't made in Scotland is always compared to Scotch. This is definitely a lighter malt but takes on the characteristics of a sherry-finished single malt. The red wine influence is really well done and creates a wonderful finish to a pleasant dram. Given that this is a single malt, there is a fullness that I would expect that is lacking. This is probably due to its youth as the oak barely makes its presence known. However, it does not have the typical small barrel oakiness or overly malty taste that I have found in other very young malts. Given its price, I would not be surprised if people found this to be a good value malt as opposed to their more expensive Scotch cousins. One thing I will say, you need to pay attention to Starward. There is a lot of promise in these whiskeys, and if they are allowed to age a few more years, they could be fantastic.