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SMWS Adds Two Australian Distilleries to Roster, Archie Rose and Starward

What you need to know:

  • SMWS has included its first two Australian distilleries, Archie Rose and Starward, to its rosters, as #147 and #148.
  • One of the most interesting things to come from this is we’ll get to see the presence of more Apera casks, an Australian fortified wine that is popular amongst local distilleries.
  • The first bottlings from Archie Rose and Starward with the SWMS will be first-fill Apera cask matured whiskies.
  • Tasting notes for the bottlings below!


Archie Rose's distilling facility. (Image Source: Archie Rose)

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS), one of the most prominent independent bottlers, has been incrementally expanding their roster over the years. From Japanese distilleries to Taiwanese distillers and also to include non-malt whiskies, such as grain and rye. So it’s about time they included a number of the good folks from the land down under.

Read more about the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, on the most influential independent bottlers of whisky.

For a full list of SMWS codes, click here.

For starters they’ve included Sydney-based Archie Rose and Melbourne-based Starward.


Archie Rose's SMWS debut! (Image Source: SMWS)


Archie Rose will debut at #147 with 147.1 Jacaranda Jam.

This release is also groundbreaking as it’ll be a first-fill Ex-Apera quarter cask - the first Apera cask for SMWS. Apera being local Australian fortified wine, so a really nice touch there. As such Apera has been a popular cask of choice for a number of Australian distilleries looking to further distinguish their whiskies. The name of the bottle itself is a nod to a purple fragrant flower found everywhere from California to Nepal.


(Image Source: SMWS)


“I can vouch for it enthusiastically: it pours rich and oily in the glass, exudes aromas of cinnamon scroll, orange peel, beeswax and toffee, and floods the mouth with powerful, sweet flavours of honeycomb, chocolate and roasted cashews. Exuberant, hedonistic whisky.”

Max Allen of AFR News


(Image Source: SMWS)
Naval orange peel on white toast with balsamic glaze and caramel chews. Milk bottle lollies and plum juice! A big bowl of Coco Pops and Jersey Milk.
Diluted, the nose evolved into pink wafer biscuits and ink wells before morphing into a bright clean sherry.
The palate bursts with Persian spices and glazed ham with a fistful of squished Jacaranda flowers between pages of a book. Roasted dark malts dance on the tongue between scoops of orange sorbet enjoyed deep in a dunnage warehouse.
The palate diluted is Nutella biscuits and Manuka honey. Brilliantly integrated after a short maturation and showing maturity well beyond its years.
The finish rolls on with vintage perfume, laundry powder, and Turkish Delights.


And then we have #148 for Melbourne’s Starward Distillery.

SMWS will release 148.1 in 2021 and 148.2 in 2022.

And you guessed it, 148.1 will be Apera for Everyone! There you go another Apera because come on, it’s Australia! How could you try Australian whisky without Apera!

This one’s another first-fill Apera barrique maturation.

148.2 will be Kirsch Me Quick, which will be bottled from a first-fill Red Wine barrique.

These two bottles haven't been officially announced but Time For Whisky has already had a sneak peek of them, the lucky guy! Shout out to Time For Whisky for his coverage on the Australian whisky scene!

Check out Time For Whisky for his tasting notes on the two Starward bottles if you’re a real Aussie whisky fan! 


Our Take

It's about time! Australia's whisky scene (amidst other spirits) has been bustling and frankly it's been exceptionally difficult to gain access to their bottlings because for the most part these distilleries are still craft distilleries producing bottles in small batches. In that sense, it's a little comparable to what we see with the Ji-whisky movement in Japan. So thus far there hasn't been a whisky giant from the land down under.


(Image Source: SMWS)

This again is one of the key value proposition of independent bottlers who have far greater access than we do. In fact, just a few months ago, we saw independent bottler, That Boutique-y Whisky Company (TBWC) come out with their own Australia series

Right now, bottlings are still limited to the Australia chapter of SWMS, while TBWC's bottles can be found at online retailer Master of Malt. So what I'd really like to see is these Aussie bottles hit the mainstream and have greater global distribution so we can all try some.