I was lucky enough to be invited to Starward Distillery’s Ten Year Anniversary Party and Bottling Launch a few week ago. The only whisky distilleries I’ve visited before have been much larger companies, on organised tours, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. My walk down what seemed like a deserted industrial estate didn’t fill me with much hope, but then I saw the lights of Starward in the distance and boy, was I in for a surprise.
The venue is far more chic bar than whisky distillery, with it’s indoor plants, sleek bar and well trained bartenders. It’s trendy-industrial, with a shot of, “oh, hey, that whisky you’re drinking – turn around – yeah, we’re just making another batch over there”. The venue is spacious, yet welcoming. We certainly weren’t in a rush to leave.
The cocktails we enjoyed were all themed around the Starward journey and whisky making process. They offered a good variety of (very alcoholic) cocktails, while still managing to make their whisky the hero of all of them – although the huge square ice cubes gave it a good run for it’s money. We were also treated to a pour each of their whisky. Now at 43%, it was a little too strong for my liking, buy my other half – a whisky drinker, thoroughly enjoyed sampling both his and my pour. He loved the rich flavour and the fruity taste.
We were also treated to food from Blue Bonnet BBQ – and I’m definitely going to be hunting these guys down for some more of their meat. Given we arrived about 7pm and these guys had been going all day, the meat was just delicious. It fell apart in my mouth and the brisket in particular was full of flavour.
Starward opens Fri-Sunday and they offer masterclasses, distillery tours and a range of other events. Given our experience, I would say they offer extremely good value, and would be a great gift or night out for a whisky lover. We were provided with a folder, giving us the history of Starward, and seeing the passion these guys put into their whisky, I’m certain they’d provide you with a great evening.