Starward Fortis Australian Single Malt Whisky: Review

Starward Fortis

Starward Fortis continues the evolution of the distiller’s core range of whiskies since founder David Vitale joined us on the Drinks Adventures podcast.

“From day one, one of the things that was really important for me was that we began with the end in mind which is like a really affordable, easy to drink whisky that we can offer the world,” Vitale told us in late 2018.

Starward has delivered on this promise with the additions of groundbreaking blend, Two-Fold ($65), and now its most robust expression yet, Starward Fortis, modestly priced at $129 in spite of its 50 per cent ABV.


“This whisky is matured in 100 per cent American Oak wine barrels, predominately from the Barossa Valley, which is famed for its powerful and bold red wines,” the distiller says.

“Fortis’ distinct attributes come from these freshly emptied red wine barrels and the American oak char.”

On the nose, Starward Fortis offers aromas of vanillin oak, burnt toast, apricots, and raisins.

Starward Fortis

It is quite robust and spicy on the palate with elements of fruitcake, Russian black bread and liqueur muscat.

Fortis benefits from a drop of water, which sends it more into confectionary territory with layers of gingernut biscuits, caramel and dried fruits.

It’s a welcome addition to the Australian whisky category, bridging the gap – both in terms of flavour and affordability – between Starward’s entry-level malts and some of the more intense cask-strength expressions out of Tasmania.

I thoroughly enjoyed it with a mature cheddar cheese, whereby it ably played the role of muscadelles or quince.

The first batch release of Fortis will be available exclusively through the Starward website from Monday August 3, 2020.

“I can’t wait to share each batch’s nuances and variations that bring to life our innovative spirit and the depth of barrels we source from Aussie winemakers,” Vitale says.

Source: Sample

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