Melbourne’s own David Vitale was inspired to create a spirit that reflected his hometown’s famed “four seasons in a day” temperature swings and captured the production values and craft of a city surrounded by some of Australia’s leading wine regions and regarded as the microbrewing capital of Australia.
The brand currently works out of a purpose-built distillery in Melbourne’s Docklands Precinct, which was established in 2016. The distillery features on-site maturation warehouses.
The tools and ingredients to create an authentically Australian whisky include barley sourced from between Hunter Valley in Northern Sydney and the Adelaide Hills and apera and red wine casks from Victoria to mature the whisky. The distillery refers to the amount of time a whisky spends in cask as “Melbourne years”, which refers to the phenomenon that occurs when whisky is aged in a warmer climate, which affects the maturation process and has the apparent influence of accelerating it.
A well-rounded and flavoursome single malt from Australian distillery Starward, Left Field has been matured in Australian Red Wine barrels made from French oak.
Nose: Fruity notes come from tannic red apple skin, strawberry laces, apricot jam, orange peel, fresh raspberries and mango slices in juice. Alongside them is a dusting of cacao powder, oaky vanilla, ginger beer, a little charred chilli pepper, then demerara sugar, maple syrup, nougat and milky coffee. Around the edges, toasted almonds and marzipan make an appearance, with some fresh nutmeg grated on top for good measure.
Palate: Through a core of winey-woodiness, there’s PX-soaked sultanas, ginger cake, more of that beautiful mealy maltiness and some tartness from cherries and cranberries. There’s also blackcurrants, dark chocolate and liquorice, as well as rye bread, stewed orchard fruit, aniseed and caramel.
Finish: Some of those tropical and darker fruit notes echo into the finish, which also has a tang of balsamic vinegar, a sprightly touch of peppermint and more of that red wine funk.