Let's review the Starward x Lagavulin
Yes, I just repeated the title in the subtitle. And I'll do it again: Starward Lagavulin.
Can you hear my enthousiasm? Doesn't that sound awesome?
Now, let me start with a small introduction:
For a while now, I encounter bottles of Starward at whisky events. And I try them.
And I like them. Some more than others. But to my shame, I have not (yet) bought them. So a small introduction into Starward would be nice.
Starward Distillery is located in Melbourne, Australia. So yes, a warm climate. Started in 2007, Starward tries to work with as much local products as possible.
And if you know Australia, you know they have some fine wine regions.
So most Starward editions are aged on different types of Australian wine casks, giving their whiskies unique warm notes.
And, as I mentioned, a warm climate, or as Starward calls it: 'four-seasons-in-a-day' climate. Now to explain the effect of these type of climates in a quick and easy to understand way: The temperature makes the wood expand and shrink. So think of it like a pumping heart: The interaction of the liquid with the wood is intense. Therefore most Starward whiskies are aged between 3-4 years but can seem much older in flavor.
Now, I was browsing Instagram a while ago and spotted an announcement of the arrival of a Starward whisky, finished on ex -Lagavulin cask.
My interest was immediately aroused and I started searching for a spot where I could get myself a bottle.A long story short, I could not. It was sold out.
I almost forgot about it.
Until I visited the Mault Vault in Utrecht for an event and spotted the bottle that was delivered that day. (I can recommend visiting them in Utrecht or The Hague.)
I was finally able to try it!
This whisky, aged on red wine barrels and finished for 18 months on Lagavulin barrels was bottled at 48%.
The color is an almost reddish brown, and a twirl left a very slight ring in the glass.
Now on the nose this one was so soft: Mild fruit notes like nectarines and pear, added with some more malty notes and a whiff of sawdust. Just a very mellow mild and fresh scent. No hints yet of peat and smoke, although the second nosing gave me a very slight hint of lingering smoke at the end.
Now the palate was different. It started fresh and fruity, think tropical fruits, but before you can start to identify them, a tsunami of peat and smoke enters and adds to that bowl of fruit. It does not wash it away, it adds to it. Right after you have a mix of syrupy fruity smoke and you can start recognising the fruit. The peat has this typical flavor direction towards mint. Which just adds to the awesomeness of this dram!
The finish is long and starts sweet like syrup, but turns rather quickly in candied wafer paper with a longer lingering wood note. Almost like chewing on your popsicle stick when the tropical ice is already gone.
I enjoyed this dram on three separate occasions at the Malt Vault. And while I do recommend trying this dram or visiting the Malt Vault, please don't order this dram too much? I'd really like to order it again next time.