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Stalk and Barrel Single Malt

Review: Stalk and Barrel Single Malt  (77/100)
A Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on September 21, 2017

Still Waters is a new distilling company who proudly proclaim themselves Ontario’s first Micro-Distillery. They commenced operations in the fall of 2009 and produced their first new-make spirit just two months after they received their custom German-made pot still. In 2014, the Still Water’s Distillery began bottling their first batches of their own 100 % Hand-Crafted Canadian Single Malt Whisky an I was able to sample and review the whisky from their first two casks. (See here and here)

According to the information on the Still Waters Website their Single Malt whisky is:

“Made from 100% Canadian two-row malted barley. We mash, ferment, and distill by hand in small batches in a copper pot still. Our whisky is aged in ex-bourbon casks on site for a minimum of three years. Each barrel is bottled individually as a single cask offering in individually numbered bottles, offered at either cask strength or at 46% alc./vol. No additives nor colouring and no chill-filtering.”

In the Bottle 4/5

The Stalk & Barrel Single Malt whisky is bottled in the clear, medium-tall glass bottle pictured to the left. Each bottle is individually numbered by hand, indicating the Cask number, the bottle number and the bottling strength. The packaging is quite acceptable, especially considering that this whisky comes from only the second barrel of Single Malt Whisky that Still Waters has produced.

In the Glass 8.0/10

The single malt whisky displays itself as a straw coloured liquid (pale gold). When I tilt and twirled my glass the spirit deposited a slightly thickened sheen on the inside the crest of which slowly gave up little leglets which turned into slender legs which ran back down the inside of the glencairn glass.

The initial nose is full of wood and grain spice with additional cigarette tobacco, dusty chaff, indications of almonds and some sweet and sour fruit. There is an intense penetrating quality to the nose which is a result of both the higher alcohol strength of the dram as well as an apparent youthfulness. As I let the whisky breathe I begin to notice the nutty  barley grain gaining in strength as well as an impression of graham wafers. I want to score the nose high because of the complexity that I sense, however the penetrating quality of the aroma keeps me from doing so.

In the Mouth 46.5/60

Sipping is uncomfortable as there is both an intense alcohol heat as well as intense flavours of sweet and sour fruit, spicy white pepper, fine wood spice and peppery citrus zest. The nutty barley comes through on the second sip as does some welcome butterscotch sweetness and soothing menthol. Unfortunately though the alcohol heat within the dram is just too intense. When I add ice, it is better; however I am not inspired to sip further as some unwelcome burn has settled in despite the ice.

Adding a splash of ginger-ale brings about a wonderful transformation and I now have a mixed drink I can enjoy. I suspect I could make a nice sour cocktail and enjoy myself even further.

In The Throat 10.5/15

The exit is short with sharp spice and a penetrating sweetness. And oh yes, burn baby burn …

The Afterburn 8/10

In this section of the review I will sometimes make a bit of an adjustment if I feel the accumulated scores do not properly reflect the spirit as a whole. And that is the case here as I have bumped up the Afterburn to account for the moderately high complexity and relatively rich flavour which the dram displays. Unfortunately the youthfulness of the whisky and its resulting alcohol burn dampens my enthusiasm somewhat.

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


As always you may interpret the scores I provide 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 more 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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