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KWM 2023 Whisky Calendar Blog Day 7 - Dumangin Starward 2017

Posted on December 7, 2023

by Evan

Starward Distillery. This is perhaps not a name that jumps to mind when thinking of Single Malt Whisky. Especially if you live in Canada. We have yet to receive any official bottlings from this Australian Distillery.

Starward was founded in 2007 by David Vitale in Melbourne, Australia. Since its inception, one of the things that has set Starward apart is its use of ex-red wine casks for much of its whisky maturation. We are not talking cask finishes here – this is full-term maturation in ex-red wine casks for much of the whisky it produces.

Because of Melbourne's climate, which can feature some chaotic weather with a good amount of temperature fluctuation, Starward’s maturing whisky has a lot of interaction with the casks it ages in. Casks of maturing whisky often lose more water than alcohol due to evaporation/the angels share, meaning that the alcohol level actually goes up over time. This is not unique to Starward, but it is a far cry from what happens in the quiet, cool and damp warehouses maturing whisky in Scotland.

Okay, so there is a bit of info on Starward Distillery. But what does a Champagne house in France have to do with this bottle?

Champagne Dumangin is owned by Gilles Dumangin, whose family has roots in viticulture dating back to the 1650s. Gilles is a fourth-generation Cellarmaster and Winemaker in charge of selecting and blending the Champagne for his house.

Gilles has also expanded the Dumangin repertoire over the past 20 years to include Ratafia and Whisky. Ratafia Champenois which is a fortified wine from the Champagne region of France typically made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Brandy or a neutral grape spirit is added to the grape juice before fermentation. Dumangin has also become an independent bottler of whisky - sourcing casks from various Scottish, American, and European whisky makers and then finishing the whisky in his own Ratafia Casks.

Here is what Champagne Dumangin has to say about this cask:

“The best mix between Australia and France. Australian ingredients with a pale malted barley mix from Victoria, original ageing in Barossa red wine barrels then shipped to France for a finish in Ratafia Champenois barrels. The fiery side of the red wine ageing couple with the sweetness and creaminess brought by the Ratafia Champenois touch…”

When I think of Australia, I always think BIG. Big Shiraz. Big personalities. Big spiders. Big knives. Etcetera. Big seems to the name of the game when it comes to Starward’s approach to whisky as well. With this single cask from Dumangin show Starward’s grandiosity? Let's try it and find out!

Dumangin Starward 2017 - 47%

Evan’s Tasting Note

Nose: Candied and herbaceous up front, with peppermint candy cane, wine gums, cherry bubble gum, peeled mango skin, shortbread cookies, and a touch of pine sap.

Palate: Big and rich with more candy and some spice upfront. Hard ginger candies, more peppermint and candy cane, Cherry, Pineapple and Wint-O-Green Lifesavers mixed together, butterscotch, nutmeg, and toasty oak spices.

Finish: The dance between peppermint, fruity candy, and spice continues on the slightly drying fade.

Comment: This is a bigger and bolder whisky than I had expected. The combination of mint and candy notes makes for a fun ride!

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You can find all blog posts for Kensington Wine Market’s 2023 Whisky Calendar Here

This entry was posted in Whisky, Whisky Calendars, Independent Bottler, KWM Whisky Calendar 2023



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