This is what happens when Muscat and Whisky meet
When you think of Muscat, what comes to mind? Traditionally this fortified wine is developed into a few different styles – from crisp dry whites to rich late-harvest sweet wines and fortified liqueurs. Fun fact: Muscat wine grapes are also one of the few varieties that people commonly enjoy as table grapes. To put simply, there’s much to love about Muscat – especially when you use its barrels to mature whisky… we’re speaking from experience, can you tell? Yep, our latest limited release as part of our Starward Projects program is here: Starward Muscat. Here’s how the magic happened, what you can expect when you crack a bottle and why Muscat is having a moment.
Remind us, what’s the Starward Projects program?
We’re glad you asked because we love banging on about it. It’s where some of our most unique and exciting limited-edition releases come to life – the home of unique expressions, brand collaboration and seasonal flavours that’ll stop you in your tracks. Each release that comes out of our Starward Projects program is the culmination of our distillers experimenting, trialling and dreaming up concepts that are anything but ordinary. In fact, we’d go as far as saying they’re extraordinary. Our distillers are no strangers to experimenting with fortified wine, our very first whisky, Solera, is fully matured in Apera barrels.
Why not! We’re incredibly lucky to have access to some of the best fortified wine in our own backyard – Rutherglen, Victoria to be exact. This isn’t just any Muscat though, it’s been lovingly blended and produced using skills passed down from generation to generation. A combination of Rutherglen’s unique climate and being carefully handcrafted from aged stocks results in an intense, rich and sumptuous wine. A Rutherglen Muscat typically offers flavours of raisin, dried fig, roasted nuts, Christmas spice, toffee, salted caramel, dark chocolate and molasses. It’s full-bodied and up there in terms of sweetness level. We’re chuffed to be reimagining Rutherglen’s Muscat – a quintessentially Australian wine that deserves its time in the sun (and in our whisky).
How the Muscat magic happens
This latest Projects release is a nod to the iconic Muscat grape, balancing the deliciously sweet, sticky characters with soft oak spice from the barrels. After our friends in Rutherglen pass on their ex-Muscat casks, we fill them with our signature Starward new make spirit in a combination of fresh and charred Muscat barrels. Charred barrels are, as the name suggests, barrels that have had direct contact with fire, leaving them blackened on the inside. Char creates a textured surface that alters the makeup of the oak, which acts as a natural filtration system and imparts sweet caramel and vanilla notes. Once the barrels are all filled up they’re left to their own devices for four years to soak up all of the sweet and spicy goodness from the fortified wine (the Muscat) before we combine the liquid from both types of barrels. So, what’s the outcome when we combine our award-winning whisky with deliciously rich ex-Muscat barrels? We can only describe it as something magical.
A moment for the taste
Let’s delve a little deeper into what you can expect when you enjoy a glass of Starward Muscat. Over the course of the four years as the whisky matures, it absorbs the brightly perfumed aroma from the fresh barrels while the charred barrels provide caramelised Muscat undertones and a toasty oak profile. The final product features mouthwatering notes of toasted almond, cinnamon, and lychee. This release will have you dreaming of hot sticky cinnamon buns or a soft and crumbly raisin pudding. It’s delicious sipped neat and, like all our whiskies, feels right at home on the dinner table.
Make sure you enter the ballot
Starward Muscat will be available exclusively via ballot at Starward.com.au. The only way to get your hands on a bottle is to enter the ballot for a chance to purchase. Registration opens 26 July with the ballot drawn from 16 August. Jump to it and register here.