Can’t do a quick business tour of the GTA without stopping in at Still Waters Distillery in Concord/Vaughan. If you check our reviews of their Stalk & Barrel Cask 2 single malt and their 1+11 Special Blend, you’ll see why: these guys are doing it right.
I have to admit that last time I visited the distillery I was a bit awestruck – asked some questions, took some pics and bought a bottle, but felt a little overwhelmed. No fault of the host, I mean – Barry let me in, let me wander around his business and take pictures, and answered every question I had the wherewithal to ask. This time I think I managed to be a little more with it. I was there with my co-worker and rye and Canadian whisky fan Brad, and we were shown around by “the other Barry”. We got to watch the first distillation of a new batch of rye! We also got to try the un-aged new rye make, the high proof current cask single malt, and the 1+11.
Good news from S&B – there will be single malt in the LCBO, in a limited capacity, at a number of stores across the province, very soon. More good news, they will have an aged rye whisky for sale in the Fall. Sign up for their newsletter to stay informed. I know I’ll be making the trip down to pick up a bottle of the aged rye, based on the tasting and a little bit of info I found out.
“What?” you say. “But you hate rye, and un-aged make! How could un-aged rye make you want to buy more?” Well, two things. The first is that I tried the make, and for un-aged rye, it’s fantastic, so I need to know what it tastes like with some time in the wood. The second reason is the bit of info – the 1+11 blend that we were crowing over? The one in who’s review I did some math trying to figure out the balance? Turns out the 1 of the 1+11, the 10% that is Stalk & Barrel’s own flavour, is their rye. Which sort of blew my mind – they took a drink I don’t usually like, and added it to several other whiskies I don’t usually like, and made something I said was the best Canadian whisky I’ve ever tasted.
These guys know their shit, and it shows. They’re moving product to the States and other markets and it’s selling as fast as they can ship it, and they’re wading through the ponderous LCBO processes as quickly as possible. Keep an eye on Still Waters and Stalk & Barrel, they’re gong to be important.
This time out I opted for the toned-down offering, ringing in at 46% instead of over 60% like the last single malt – I was curious how their bottling process might alter the taste. This might be clouded by the fact the last stuff we tried was Cask 2 and this is Cask 8, so flavour drift will likely be more a result of a different barrel and things learned than directly from the percentage change, but hey, Scotch has always been about the new. Here’s what we thought of Cask 8, Bottle 168:
Dan – pear, berry candy, apple
Simon – wine notes, slight savoriness, fruit
Goran – these guys are my heroes, slight grappa, glenlivet, applesauce and baileys, vanilla
Ryan – so much fruit, strawberry, melted white freezie
Matt – slight petrol but not in a bad way, fruit, banana, very pleasant
Dan – stronger than expected, wood, definitely fresh, not musty at all. cardhu
Simon – barrel, pear, slight syrup
Goran – it’s scotch. burn forward on the taste, apple
Ryan – mellowed fruit, maple, sugar bush
Matt – gentle, oaky, pleasant, less flavours than in the nose
Dan – bitter & slightly astringent without being bad
Simon – lingers on the tongue, rose
Goran – butter, wood
Ryan – burn at back of throat
Matt – nice, little burn
Try it? Yes! Buy it! Yes!