Starward Win Whisky & Alement’s Inaugural People’s Choice Title

Starward Nova. Pic supplied

Starward Nova Wine Cask single malt has been named the inaugural winner of Melbourne bar Whisky & Alement’s People’s Choice Whisky Of The Year, beating out expressions from Japan and Scotland.

The awards were voted upon by patrons of the award-winning bar, who over the past month have tasted blind flight of five whiskies chosen from the bar’s top selling drams. Vote cards were then submitted after the tasting flights with the results tallied to reveal the Melbourne community’s favourite. In the end it was a local, Port Melbourne’s own Starward, that took out top spot – followed by three Japanese blends and single grains. The competition is believed to be the first of its kind in Australia.

Starward co-founder David Vitale said in response to the recognition, “Despite having won lots of ‘best in classes’ and other trophies over our short six years, this is the proudest accolade for the team and me.”

He noted the bar staff’s “knowledge and passion to provide an experience for those that walk through the door, on the patron’s terms – perfectly matched to where they are at on their whisky journey. It’s exactly what inspires us every day – to offer people a deliciously accessible whisky that meets them where they are at. And I reckon that common link might just have been the reason why – amongst such amazing whiskies from around the world – Melbourne chose us.”

As well as the patron-voted main award, the bar themselves issued an Encouragement Award to Tasmania’s Spring Bay distillery.

“This is an Australian distillery that from their first release in mid-2017, have now gone on to land their Bourbon Cask expression in the top 30 highest selling whiskies for 2019,” the bar noted.

The recognition was, “testament to the consistency and incredible balance [owners] Cam and Suzy Brett achieve in their spirit, release after release.”

The Top 25 People’s Choice Whiskies

  1. Starward Nova, Australia, Single Malt
  2. Nikka Coffey Grain, Japan, Grain Whisky
  3. Hibiki Japanese Harmony, Japan, Blended Malt
  4. Nikka From The Barrel, Blended Malt
  5. Lagavulin 16-Year-Old, Islay, Single Malt
  6. Yamazaki 12-Year-Old, Japan, Single Malt
  7. Caol Ila 12-Year-Old – Islay, Single Malt
  8. Glenfiddich 12-Year-Old – Speyside, Single Malt
  9. Ardbeg 10-Year-Old – Islay, Single Malt
  10. Laphroaig 10-Year-Old – Islay, Single Malt
  11. Ben Nevis 10-Year-Old – Highland, Single Malt
  12. Balvenie 12-Year-Old Double Wood – Speyside, Single Malt
  13. Redbreast 12-Year-Old – Ireland, Single Pot Still
  14. Balblair 1989 Vintage – Highland, Single Malt
  15. Glendronach 18-Year-Old – Highland, Single Malt
  16. Springbank 15-Year-Old – Campbeltown, Single Malt
  17. Starward Two Fold – Australia, Blended Whisky
  18. Ardbeg Uigeadail – Islay, Single Malt
  19. Oban 14-Year-Old – Highland, Single Malt
  20. Glendronach 12-Year-Old – Highland, Single Malt
  21. Woodford Bourbon – USA, Bourbon
  22. Hakushu Distillers Reserve– Japan, Single Malt
  23. Port Charlotte 10-Year-Old – Isle of Islay, Single Malt
  24. Talisker 10-Year-Old – Isle of Skye, Single Malt
  25. Yoichi Single Malt – Japan, Single Malt


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