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Stalk and Barrel Blue Blend

Stalk and Barrel Blue Blend  (76 points)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published September 16, 2017

Barry Bernstein and Barry Stein own and run the Still Water Distillery, Ontario’s first micro-distillery which they founded in 2009. They not only manage the distillation and the blending of the Still Waters’ products, they also act as the distillery’s Chief Bottle Washers and Bottle Fillers. In fact, there is not a single aspect of their business that they do not either personally oversee or do themselves.

Stalk and Barrel Blue Blend is the Distiller’s flagship whisky, and it contains a blend of corn, rye and malt whiskies. Marketed as a mixing whisky the spirit is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 4/5

The Stalk & Barrel Blue Blend whisky is pictured to the left. I like the long-necked bottle with the synthetic cork closure. It follows the bartender’s rule of thumb that liquor bottles should be easy to store, easy to hold, and most importantly easy to pour. The label could use a little dressing up; but keeping costs down is a major impediment for new distillers. I suspect that for the time being the distillery feels that money should be spent on what’s inside the bottle rather than what is outside.

In the Glass 7.5/10

The whisky displays itself as a straw coloured liquid (pale gold). When I tilt and twirled my glass the spirit deposited a light sheen on the inside the crest of which quickly gave up slender legs which tended to evaporate before reaching the bottom of the glass.

The nose is rye and corn forward with hints of anise and a few touches of sour fruit. Dusty sandalwood spices follow with clear impressions of vanilla and almond. I noticed some hints of canned fruit (peaches and apricots) and a building sweetness. Some astringency also developed giving the sweetness a penetrating quality. My sense is that the blend is youthful.

In the Mouth 46/60

The impression of youth is reinforced with the first sip as the delivery brings a bite of sharp alcohol bite across the palate. I tasted a combination of light butterscotch and bitter citrus pith with trailing flavours of corn and rye grain. Additional flavours of vanilla, sour fruit, and wisps of vanilla were evident as was a light dusting of wood spice. Some soothing menthol helps with the astringency.

The Blue Blend mixes well with to ginger-ale and ice, and mixes well with cola. I am not tempted to try more refined servings as there just doesn’t seem to be enough depth of flavour here to mix an Old-Fashioned or a Manhattan. I did however mix a refreshing ice filled cocktail with lemon and orange juice (see recipe below).

In the Throat 11/15

The light bodied whisky exits with flavours of butterscotch, wood spice, almond and hints of menthol.  Unfortunately, some alcohol bite troubles the ending.

The Afterburn 7.5/10

The LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) website describes the Stalk and Barrel Blue Blend as perfect for mixing. I agree as I in my tasting sessions, I found the spirit mixed extremely well with both ginger ale and cola, as well as in ice filled cocktails. I unfortunately was not able to find enjoyment when attempting to sip the spirit neat or over ice.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

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Suggested Recipe

SAM_0827 Amazing TickleCanadian Tickle
(an Arctic Wolf Cocktail)

1 3/4 oz  Stalk and Barrel Blue Blend
1/2 Lemon
1 oz Orange Juice
1 – 2 teaspoons crystal sugar

Cut the half lemon into four wedges
Squeeze by hand into an old-fashioned glass the juice from the two largest wedges
Place the other two wedges into the glass
Add 2 teaspoons sugar and 1 oz of orange juice
Muddle (mash the ingredients together using a muddler or a wooden spoon)
Add 1 3/4 oz Stalk and Barrel Blue Blend
Stir to dissolve the remaining sugar
Fill the glass with crushed ice
Serve with a straw

Yumm!

 

Please enjoy this whisky and the suggested cocktail responsibly. Remember the aim of my blog is to help you drink better.. not to help you drink more!

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I am sometimes asked what my numbers actually mean. In order to provide clarification, you may (loosely) interpret the scores as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

 

 

 

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