I am on a run of writing Starward single barrel picks. This Australian whisky is showing different aspects of whisky and its integration with red wine beautifully in each bottle. As opposed to Starward Single Barrel 10608 for SFWBSS, this whisky that is picked by LA Whiskey & Spirits Guild is aged in American oak barrels that held red wine from Barossa Valley before. It was aged for 4 years just like the SFWBSS barrel. However, I bet you can already imagine the diversity of flavors right now.
What Is Special About This Single Barrel Pick?
First of all, I want to thank my friend Vadim who gave me the opportunity to get a bottle of this pick when I visited him the last time. Honestly, he gave me a lot of insight and samples from Starward, I owe my Starward palate to him.
As I mentioned above, the whisky spends four years in the barrel. It was filled in August 2016 and bottled in April 2021. So we can actually call it 4 and a half years too.
On the nose, I got raisins and creme patisserie at first. Cranberries, toasted oak, oak spices followed them. Then there was this flavor which immediately reminded me of Regan's Orange Bitters No 6.
This is not a whisky, this is a whisky!
The palate is very vibrant. Creamy with vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and toasted oak. Some overripe grape notes, butterscotch and tobacco lead to a long finish with ginger dryness. On the finish, this dryness is there with tannins, earthy flavors and red forest fruits. The finish gets oversaturated with oak, which some people actually love and some don't really care.
I was expecting American oak flavors to shout out, and at certain times they really did with vanilla, toasted oak and butterscotch. However, it didn't take away the wine at all. When tasting it next to SFWBSS pick, you can feel the difference between American and French oak clearly. That's absolutely fun to experience. I can conclude my review by saying that, if you are looking for a softer complexity, this pick is for you. American oak stands out with milder strength but rich flavors. As I mentioned above, the finish shows a bit of over-oaked character, which is why the score is lower than I would have given.