About a month ago, I had an opportunity to review Starward Distillery's Two-Fold Double-Grain Whisky. Starward is an Australian distillery located in Melbourne and is part of the Diageo portfolio. When Starward was established in 2007, founder David Vitale suggested this is "what whisky can be" and set out with a vision to create a unique Australian whisky to offer the world with pride.
Starward's Nova is a single-malt whisky that has been aged two years in Australian red wine barrels. Those Shiraz, Pinot and Cabernet barrels were not charred and were used exactly how they came from the winery. Nova is non-chill filtered, not artificially colored, is bottled at 41% ABV and can be found at about $54.99. That's affordable for a single malt anything in today's market.
I'd like to thank Starward for providing me with a sample of Nova for a no-holds-barred, honest review of their whisky. And now, let's get on with it, shall we?
In my Glencairn glass, Nova appears as a reddish copper. It left a thin rim that generated medium-thick legs that slowly dropped back to the pool of liquid sunshine.
Aromas of honey and malt were upfront, leading to an enticing start. Behind those was nuts and beneath that a fruitiness that is undoubtedly attributed to the wine casks. When I inhaled through my lips, it was a chocolate-sherry blend that I found quite interesting.
Nova's mouthfeel was thin yet creamy. On the front of my palate, it was all heavy, thick honey. Then, at mid-palate, the honey changed to red wine, and then, at the back, it was a combination of raspberry and sherry.
The finish was a short hint of black pepper, an astringent quality, and long-lasting honey. The astringent honey hung on and was very sweet.
Bottle, Bar or Bust: I routinely suggest when sipping whisk(e)y that you never judge something on the first sip. You have to give your palate a chance to get over the "shock" of whatever is initially presented. Nova starts off very bland and muted but does get more flavorful as you continue to sip it. To me, Nova was akin to drinking sherry, but at the same time, it is not what I would describe as a "sherry bomb" that many Scotch fans would recognize.
The best thing about Nova was the nosing experience. The problem is the tasting itself never became enjoyable. I returned to this one again, particularly since I enjoyed Two-Fold so much, hoping for a different result but ended at the same place. Nova winds up in the unfortunate position of a Bust on my scale.