Starward Fortis 50% ABV

starward fortis
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We age Fortis in 100% American Oak barrels to give a full, rich taste and enhance the toasty oak and vanilla characters of the whisky. Fortis also boasts juicy red wine characteristics thanks to barrels from mostly Barossa Valley wineries, which once held powerful shiraz and cabernets. Some barrels are charred for complexity, most are fresh, lending Fortis the intense red wine flavours that soaked into the barrel staves. We don’t chill filter this stronger release to closely represent the whisky that comes from the barrel.


Deep gold with an orange to red hue depending on the light, in my stemmed tulip glass the swirl line thick, and the legs are very thick and viscous.


Straight off it’s red berries, strawberries and raspberries and syrup from a jar of cocktail cherries, with an icing sugar sweetness, and also has a damp leaf litter thing going on. 

Strawberry laces sweets are joined by a sweet perfume aroma, chunks of rose jelly from Turkish delights, and there’s a spiciness coming through too.


The mouthfeel is quite oily, and the spiciness from the nose is amplified on the palate. It is initially “juicy” as @RockNRolla60 on Twitter offered, lots of the red berries. Then cinnamon, cumin, and star anise add the spices, then red liquorice brings more sweetness.

Black pepper, figs, cranberries and a strong black coffee also come through with more time, dandelion and burdock, cherry throat lozenges and possibly flat cherry coke see the bulk of the palate come to a close.


Long side of medium in length, and there’s plenty of wood here, with dunnage, chilli’s and blood orange, and possibly some tannins. Very late on there is a little drying.

My thoughts

I recently got to taste the New Starward Unexpeated bottling, through the Whisky Pioneer subscription service, and my whisky friend Sean said he had this bottle, and that he’d send me a dram as i’d enjoyed the Unexpeated so much. Sean had said this was a great dram in his opinion, and i have to agree, this is also a banger of a dram in my humble opinion.

It’s spicy, and fruity, and slowly leads you to darker spicy fruit flavours. The mouthfeel is really nice and the 50% ABV is works very well, i’d be very happy to have a bottle in my whisky cupboard.

A big thank you goes out to my whiskey friend Sean – @RockNRolla60 on Twitter for the sample, Sean can be followed using the button below.

Bottle image: The Whisky Exchange.

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