And this is where we end the mini cask experiments, however more on that latter. The last white spirit I put into the cask was the Still Waters New Make Single Malt. I’m a fan of Still Water. When I originally reviewed the New Make, I enjoyed it. There was definitely something there that was worth exploring.
Also, let’s not mince words: I bought it not to really drink it, but to support a distillery near me so they can eventually bring out something older. And they have, and I’ve bought it. But I was still left with the New Make spirit, so I purchased their mini cask to try it out.
Colour: Packaging tape
Nose: Stewed plums, weak cranberry sauce, lake water, violets, mace
Taste: Sour grapes, wood, blackberry, banana, caramel, cinnamon
Finish: Perrier, hard caramel, sour orange, green onion, old candy
Colour: Very Light yellow
Nose: Grapefruit, pine, lemon custard, sour raspberry, ginger, melon, banana bread
Taste: Dry wheat, cinnamon, clotted cream, pepper, green tea, grit, currants
Finish: Sour, lemon rind, nutmeg, cinnamon, cocoa, oranges, rye bread
Colour: Light Brown
Nose: Caramel, strawberry, cinnamon, banana, buttercream, caramelized pecans, macadamia, vanilla, nutmeg, anise
Taste: Sweet caramel, banana, vanilla, fake peach, caraway seeds, anise
Finish: Burnt toast, caramel, strong candy, lemon, molasses, pine
Nose: Banana, lemon cake, cinnamon, orange rind, peanuts, pine, candy corn, rubbing alcohol
Taste: Lemon, burn, toasted wheat, brown banana, cocoa, corn, mineral water
Finish: Iodine, malt, yeast, lime rind, charcoal
Colour: Burnt oranges
Nose: Banana, yeast, cloves, toasted oats, nail polish remover
Taste: Banana bread, chili, mushroom, burnt butter, yeast, vinegar
Finish: Burnt butter, banana, bitter, yeast, brown bread
Conclusion: So that should be the end of it, right? Then why didn’t I include a picture of my bottle, filled with my third experiment?
Well you see, it doesn’t end there. I tried my last little bit, and decided it was time to pull the bottle. When I did so I ended up with 2 oz (70 ml) of liquid. Turns out that during the rye test, the barrel ended up breaking and had a slow, hard to find leak.
I proceeded to pour myself this last dram, and let’s just say that it was all burnt oak and nail polish. I don’t blame this on Still Waters, as the cask did break and they can’t control that. Oh well, learning without any failure isn’t learning.
Final Conclusion on Mini Casks: There’s a recent push for more and more “white whisky” products, and at first glance, a Mini Cask Seems like the best idea to pair with them. I mean, you can age your own! Try out different temperatures, finishes, etc! What’s to miss out?
Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s the solution that we need. There’s too much wood contact, it’s more flash then flavour. The Rum turned out nice, the Rye has a rough flavour, and the Single Malt ended in the carpet. It shouldn’t have ended up with any leaks as it was placed in the room with the highest humidity and a humidifier on at all time.
I’ve learned a little bit about the process, and for that I’m grateful, and I won’t stop aging my own white whisky, yet I won’t recommend a mini cask in the future. Instead I’ll be trying out miniature oak staves in the future, and potentially using them in red wine first to get the finishes that I’d like.
World Whisky reviews #28-29, Canadian reviews #15-16, Whisky Network review #151-152