Starward’s Sam Slaney on small batch trials, debut white wine cask

Starward head distiller Sam Slaney

Melbourne’s Starward Whisky has released smaller batch experimental products ever since the very early days.

And some of these, like the Ginger Beer Cask that we explored in depth with founder David Vitale in Season 13, have gone onto bigger things.

In 2020, the company created the Small Batch Experimental Series as a home for its smaller one-off releases that haven’t reached the scale required for wider distribution; showcasing new flavours, specialty ingredients and unique barrels or distilling processes.

In this special episode of Drinks Adventures ­– produced with the support of Starward – head distiller Sam Slaney will take you through some of the most recent Small Batch releases including Chardonnay Cask, Starward’s first whisky matured completely in white wine casks.

It was also an opportunity for me to ask Sam some more general questions about the barrel program at Starward, which has mastered red wine cask maturation to great success, claiming the title of Most Awarded Distillery at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2022.

I should point out that the Small Batch series discussed in this episode is currently available to Australian listeners only.

If you are listening locally, the three most recent releases – Chardonnay Cask, Munich Malt and Toffee Apple – are all available to purchase direct from the distillery at

Click here to open episode in your podcast player.