This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by Starward. This in no way influenced the final outcome of this review.
As many of you know, I tend to review almost anything I can get my hands on. It could be Scotch, Bourbon, Irish, Japanese, or even craft, as long as it says whisk(e)y somewhere on the label. However, some country's whiskey has eluded me, mainly due to my fabulous location in Whiskey Wasteland, otherwise known as Pennsylvania. So, bottles like French, Indian, Korean and Australian were deemed impossible to find. Even venturing outside of this great state, most of these bottles just did not appear.
So, I was quite excited when I found out we would be getting a sample of some Australian whiskey. Starward is an interesting distillery and Two-Fold is an interesting whiskey. Starward tends to use brewer's yeast because of its fruity profile. They also mature their whiskey in red wine barrels, and only lightly char or steam them. At this point, you have to assume you are getting a highly fruity profile from whatever comes out of those barrels. Unlike many distilleries who aim to make "the best X around", Starward focuses on Melbourne, "full of casual brilliance", and tries to mimic that style. Obviously, they want to make the best whiskey that they can, but they want to make sure you can enjoy it whenever and however you want, at the dinner table or in a cocktail. For Tow-Fold, they even state it as "Our aim? To make whisky that's unpretentious and easy to enjoy, however you like. Enter, Two-Fold."
One thing I do not have a lot of experience with in my whiskey journey is wine finishes, or in this case wine barrel maturation. I have had plenty of sherry barrel aged and finished whiskey, but wine finishes just aren't that common yet. Given this, I was eager to try Two-Fold and see how it worked with their wheat and barley mashbill.
2 years old
"Born & Bred" in Melbourne, Australia
60% wheat and 40% malted barley
Bottled at 40% ABV (80 proof)
Matured in Australian Red Wine Barrels
Age: 2 years bottled at 80 proof
Light aromas of berries and toasted coconut. Some vanilla and bitter oak sit in the background.
Very light feel. Thick, sweet berries almost like a jam. Vanilla tries to push through but just lingers in the background. Way in the background, there might be some caramel but it is very light.
Berries continue to be the star, but not quite as sweet. This really feels like a good red wine finish. There is some caramel and a grain creaminess that lingers, more like Cream of Wheat than oatmeal.
Worth buying a pour. This is a nice change of pace whiskey. It isn't a scotch and doesn't pretend to be one. The red wine aging feels more subtle than your typical sherry-bomb scotch, so you get to enjoy the more subtle flavors. However, there is a depth of character that is missing. This is definitely more evident on the nose and palate, which could probably be improved with a longer maturation. The finish is a very pleasant surprise, where we get to see what this whiskey could really be. Tasty, balanced and more complex, the red wine finish is a winner.