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19.06.24

7 years in the making: Starward Double Chardy Cask W&A exclusive

In 2018 W&A co-owner Jules, a lover of Starward wondered what it would taste like matured in white wine casks instead of red. After borrowing an ex-chardonnay cask for the task a suitable whisky was filled into the timber. After 5 more years of maturation and some tweaking along the way, we can finally share with the world our “Double Chardy Party” as it’s affectionally known.

We wanted the fruity notes of guava, soft pears, pineapple and fresh baked bread to be front and centre with the biscuity spice of a french oak Chardonnay cask. Starward’s signature dressed up differently!

 

The full story

In 2018, Julian had already been enjoying Starward for 5 years. Known for its flavours of red berries, chocolate and red wine cask maturation he wondered what Starward would taste like in white wine barrels. Setting about the task himself (despite not actually being in charge of Starwards barrel program) Julian asked Duncan of Hop Nation brewery and Site Wine project if he could “borrow” a Chardonnay cask for maturing Starward in.

This cask had held Mornington Peninsula chardonnay for 6 vintages already.

On delivering the 200 litre wine barrique to Starward, the next job was to select a partially matured whisky to fill into the Chardonnay cask. Unbeknown at the time, Starward were also working on a Chardonnay cask release and there were a few 2 year old Chardonnay casks that could do the job really well. At this point, the decision to create the world’s first “Double Chardonnay cask” matured whisky.

The new Chardonnay cask was sent to the cooperage for a shave and a medium toasting so as not to impart lots of oaky flavours to the whisky and highlight the chardonnay qualities along with Starwards fruity spirit.

After a long COVID shut down and three summers the cask was revisited. Some underlying wine notes were now at the forefront and it was decided to add some water to the cask, bringing down the alcohol strength and thus dissolving a different set of flavours in the cask.

Then in early 2024 the first sample out of the gates showed the whisky had really turned a corner, the nutty flavours from the timber and the fruitiness from the spirit and the wine had all come to a happy meeting point of integration. A final alcohol strength was decided upon and here you have it. The world’s first (and likely only) Double Chardonnay cask whisky.

 

The whisky

Starward Single Barrel #9819 Single Malt 51.5%
Double Matured for 7 years in Chardonnay barrels
Filled 18/05/2016, Bottled May 2024
Commissioned by and exclusive to Whisky & Alement

Tasting notes

Nose: Apricots, pear danish, orange marmalade on toast and roasted coconut flakes.
Palate: Layers of stewed fruits, rhubarb, peach and brioche.
Finish: Biscuit base and rye bread. Tarte tartin with a level of dryness keeping a grips of the layers of fruit.

Price – $195  / 700ml

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