Stalk & Barrel Single Malt – Cask 1

Stalk and Barrel Cask 1.jpg

I noticed the other day that I was running low on this bottle, so it seemed like a good time to review it.

Yeah, that’s a weak reason, but do we ever really need a reason?

I didn’t think so.

Still Waters Distillery is a new distillery in Ontario, and I’ll admit I have a soft spot for them. They are making interesting whisky, in different ways, in a Province that is a pain in the ass to distilleries at the best of times.

Also they brought out their first whisky awhile ago, Stalk & Barrel Single Malt. I was there the day it came out, in line, ready to buy Cask 1, which was bottled at Cask Strength.

It’s made from 100% Canadian two-row malted barley, made in small batches and made in a small copper pot still. Never chill filtered and never coloured. Ex-bourbon casks are used, and from what I’ve read, they are first-fill. It’s aged a minimum of 3 years.

This one was a different type of cask.

So I wish that it was older, however I was first in line, and they are still a new place. They used to only do independent bottlings, and this is their first go of it.

As such, I’m interested to try it. Let’s see how the first go tastes, shall we?

Price: $99.95 (CAD) at the Distillery or LCBO

Region: Canada

Cask #: 1

Cask Type: New Oak

Bottle #: 39/209

Filled: December 01, 2009

Bottled: April 16, 2013

Age: 3.4 years (1232 days)

Abv: 62.3%

Colour: 2.5Y 8/6

Nose: Cinnamon, caramel, corn, oak

Simple nose to start off. It’s taken in the wood well, however it needs more time I think. Nice amount of spice.

That said, for a cask strength, it’s simpler than I’d expect. Light even.

Taste: Nutmeg, raw alcohol, caramel, peach pit, currant

Spicy and fruity are the two good aspects. Really nice levels of each.

That said, the raw element is very present. The new oak, I’d hazard to guess, is leaving a stronger element of pit here that wanted.

Finish: Cinnamon, alcohol, cashew, dry, cranberry

Pretty dry finish. Quite clean as well. I like it, actually. Very woody. Again, it’s a strong alcohol taste to it, which I wonder about.

Conclusion: Romans, Romans, lend me your ears; I don’t come to praise Caesar, only to bury him.

This whisky is a good start. There’s some things I’d change, and some things I love. I love that I can have a Canadian whisky, unfettered, from a single cask. I love the dry finish, which is rare for me. I love that it’s not all sweetness and maple with subtle notes that are masquerading as “smooth” aspects.

What I don’t love? It’s young. It’s rough. And it needs more time. The new Cask? Not my favourite. I want to try one of the First-Fill Bourbon casks.

Right now Cask 6 and 7 are 5.6 years old and counting. So I’ll wait for them. I’m glad I have a bottle of Cask 2 and 3, and see how they differ. It’s a nice start, and pretty good for a young barrel. It’ll be nice to see how the others turn out.

64/100

World Whisky review #124, Canada review #46, Whisky Network review #612

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