Australia

Starward Solera

Starward Solera

What they say

There’s a time for tradition. And there’s a time to go rogue. Solera was the first whisky where we borrowed from tradition then started asking questions. It left us with a whisky deemed world class not just by us, but award judges too.

Solera is a traditional method the Spanish used to age their Sherry and keep it consistent. A fractional amount of each young cask is blended with more mature spirit. It’s the inspiration for making our Solera. And it means there’s still a touch of our first ever cask in every bottle made today.

We source every Solera ingredient from just a day’s drive away. A quintessential grain like Australian malted barley was a no-brainer to start with. Then, for a bold, craft flavour we ferment our barley with brewers’ yeast.

Next, the barrel.

We wanted barrels with one hell of a history. Our Apera barrels, an Aussie fortified wine similar to Sherry, have typically held spirit over decades. That’s some seriously flavourful oak.

We didn’t stray far to find ones we like. Our Apera casks mostly come from McWilliams Winery, right on the border between Victoria and New South Wales. We often recooper, shave and char our barrels before filling them.

At first, maturation was a bit of trial and error. We were used to Scottish whiskies with age statements over a decade long. But we soon found out that wasn’t Melbourne weather’s style.

Sure, Aussie winter temperatures aren’t far off the short Scottish summer. And they don’t say Melbourne has ‘four seasons in a day’ for nothing. With a southern arctic breeze and northern desert winds, the weather here can be shockingly turbulent. But wildly varied temperature means whisky works harder in the barrel, absorbing flavour from the wood in a much shorter time.

With this elemental maturation, Solera is a neat reflection of Melbourne; wild weather and all.

Official tasting notes

  • Nose / Bright tropical and orchard fruits, caramel and vanilla.
  • Palate / Toasty caramel and creme brûlée, banana, figs and sweet spice.
  • Finish / Juicy and full with a lingering dry spice.

What I say

Starward Solera whisky is an evolution and redesign of their original Single Malt Whisky (aka New World). Matured in Apera casks (Australian fortified wine akin to sherry). I’m revisiting this not only for the update but also as I have my first Independently bottled Starward whisky to sample alongside it too.

  • ABV 43%
  • Age NAS
  • Bottler Starward
  • Bottling Official
  • Cask Apera cask
  • Category Australian single malt whisky
  • Cost £45-50
  • Origin New World Distillery
  • Outturn undisclosed
  • Region Australia
  • Released n/a
  • Vintage undeclared

My tasting notes

  • Appearance Dark orange gold (11/20), medium tears and legs.
  • Nose Fruity and spiced, quite rich, orange and red fruits, strawberry, citrus, grapefruit, orange zest, woody spices, cinnamon, clove, allspice, manuka honey, toffee, seared banana.
  • Taste Medium-bodied, malty, toffee and honey, red fruit, raisin, pineapple, a touch of citrus, spiced nutmeg, mace, some tannic oak wood.
  • Finish Medium-long, syrupy, boiled fruit sweets or barley sugars sweetness with tannic and woody spices.
  • Overall Fruity and spiced, well balanced and with plenty of maltiness here too. Tasting blind/forgetting the heritage of this one I assumed some Australian Red wine casks had been at work here.

Score 84/100

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Categories: Australia

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