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Starward finishes whisky in Lagavulin casks

Dutch distributor Salud Spirits has brought Starward’s limited edition Lagavulin cask-finished whisky to the Netherlands, with 90 bottles available via pre-order.

Salud Spirits
The Australian whisky was finished in peated Lagavulin casks

To create the whisky, an Australian single malt, Starward’s new make spirit was matured in red wine barrels for two-and-a-half years and then transferred into peated Scotch barrels from the Lagavulin Distillery in Scotland for 18 months.

Its notes are said to feature nectarine and pineapple on the nose, along with a ‘hint of iodine’, and tropical chargrilled pineapple and black tea on the palate with a finish that ‘follows through with tropical fruits and a touch of oak’.

Starward’s founder, David Vitale, said of the link up with the Islay distillery: “My earliest inspiration for Starward was to create a deliciously distinctive whisky, and while we certainly hit that brief with our red wine barrel-matured whisky, what whisky better epitomises distinctively delicious than Lagavulin?

“Sourcing these barrels to create this exciting expression gives us a magical moment to celebrate the very best of Australian curiosity and Scottish tradition.”

Lagavulin is owned by Diageo, while Australian whisky brand Starward received an undisclosed investment from Diageo’s Distill Ventures arm in 2015.

Some members of the Starward team had the chance to visit the Lagavulin Distillery, including production director Sam Slaney. He added: “Our team was incredibly inspired by the experience in Islay. Their landscape and climate are literally worlds away from what we’re used to in our Port Melbourne distillery.

“You can see how much this impacts the flavours in their distinctive peated whisky. Similar to the impact our rapidly changing climate has on maturation, where the constant change in temperature causes our barrels contract and expand, meaning the whisky soaks up all those delicious flavours from the wood.”

Starward hopes to become one of the world’s top five whisky makers and earlier this year, it was recognised with multiple masters medals at our World Whisky Masters 2023 blind-tasting competition.

Starward x Lagavulin will be priced at €120 (US$131) and can be requested for pre-order by contacting

It will be available from mid-December in specialist whisky shops in the Netherlands.

Salud Spirits’ reputation as a top distributor in the Netherlands is growing, having recently also strengthened its partnership with vodka brand Crystal Head.

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