Vintage Cellars

What the locals are loving: Starward Whisky

Visit the urban distillery that’s bringing its ‘Melbourne whisky’ to the world and taste its signature red wine barrel aged spirit.

Melbourne’s Starward Whisky, which was originally started in 2007 in an old Qantas maintenance hangar in Essendon Fields, has taken the spirits world by storm in recent years. Starward whiskies have now won a suite of awards, the most significant of those coming at the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Starward won Most Awarded Distillery of the Year for taking out the largest haul of golds by a single distillery, becoming the first Australian producer to receive the top honour in the competition’s 22-year history.

And while Starward is now internationally renowned and recognised, this Melbourne-made whisky is still very much a representation of where it’s from. “For us, it’s always been about making a whisky from Melbourne. We never wanted to try and make Scotch whisky in Australia,” says Sam Slaney, Starward’s head of production.

It’s all in the cask

Sam says there are three key elements to Starward’s approach, starting with the distillery’s new make spirit. “We make a consistent, fruity, bright new make spirit. It’s not too heavy, and it has this beautiful tropical flavour to it.” From here, Starward’s signature red wine cask barrels go to work. “We use high-quality Australian red wine barrels. The quality of those barrels, compared to a lot of standard whisky barrels, can’t be overstated.” Then, it’s the environment Starward whisky is matured in. “Making whisky in Melbourne is another ingredient. The city’s dynamic weather, the ‘four seasons in a day’, contributes a lot to how our whisky matures.”

Starward’s core range of single malt whiskies, which includes Nova and Fortis, makes good use of local wine casks to create the brand’s signature flavour profile. But it’s Starward’s Two-Fold Double Grain Whisky that’s attracted the biggest following, largely thanks to its approachability. “Two-Fold is a fantastic whisky for us,” says Sam. “What we love with Two-Fold is that we’re making a delicious Australian whisky but it’s accessible, both from a price perspective and a flavour perspective.”


Products featured are available from 02/08/23 to 05/09/23, while stocks last. Some products or varieties featured may not be available in all stores.