American wine enthusiasts have been clamoring about Australian varietals for some time now, and exposure in the States continues to increase more and more each year. There’s no denying the uniqueness of the grapes grown Down Under, which is something recognized by Australian whisky brand Starward as well.
Now with Octave Barrels, the distillery’s first release in the U.S. in several years, Starward celebrates the red wine perfection of Australian shiraz by aging the whisky in 100L barrels of Yalumba’s iconic label, The Octavius. Starward has been partnering with Yalumba — Australia’s oldest family-owned winery — since its very first bottle, yet this is perhaps the distillery’s most unique release yet. Once Yalumba emptied its barrels, they were sent to Starward to be filled with its own liquid. The smaller barrel size allows for a higher wood-to-whisky ratio for better absorption of the wine’s characteristics.
As the first release in the Starward Projects line, a series of more experimental spirits, Octave Barrels is also the first single-estate Australian whisky and has already been awarded Double Gold at the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition this month, arguably the most prestigious and noteworthy spirits contest in the country. Starward Octave Barrels is a single malt that benefits from the loose standards of Australian whisky, enabling it to produce dark forest fruits and toasted oak on the palate, giving way to toasted marshmallow on the back end.
There are countless whisky options out there, but Octave Barrels will undoubtedly be one of the most unique you’ve ever sipped. 700mL bottles of Starward Octave Barrels are currently available on the distillery’s website for $80.