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Still Waters 1+11 Canadian Whisky

Review: Still Waters 1+11 Canadian Whisky   83/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published August 08, 2013

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.

Late last year, Still Waters released the cryptically named  Still Waters 1+11 Canadian Whisky, a blend of selected whiskies from other Canadian producers to which they have added up to 10 % of their own Hand-Crafted whisky. I tasted this new whisky last fall when I scored it blind as part of my duties as one of the jurors for the Canadian Whisky Awards. When I later examined my scores and noticed the Still Waters Whisky had done well on my score sheet, I decided to contact the distillery to see if they would be interested in a review.

Happily, they agreed and forwarded me the necessary sample.

SAM_0882 Still Waters 1+11

In the Bottle  4/5

The Still Waters 1+11 Canadian Whisky arrives in the tall cylindrical 750 ml bottle shown to the left. The seal over the corked top tells me that this bottle was produced in 2012, from batch number 1209, and that within this batch there were 685 bottles produced. I admit, the main label is not full of glitz and pop, but neither is it so bland as to imply an uncaring attitude. I would suggest that some type of graphical illustration or mention of Ontario’s first micro-distillery on the front label would give the whisky more appeal to the consumer, however the overall look is just fine for a new whisky distiller, and I look forward to how things evolve from here.

(Note: Still Waters 1+11 Canadian Whisky is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.)

In the Glass  8/10

When the whisky is poured it displays itself as a pale golden straw coloured liquid with perhaps a light tint of orange upon the gold. When I tilt my glass and give it a twirl, the whisky leaves a visible sheen on the inside of the glass, the crest of which releases long legs which trail back to the whisky.

The initial nose brings a lovely dry rye grain to the breezes filled with scents of autumn harvest including the fresh straw and chaff. As the glass breathes, impressions of caramel and corn build with accents of tobacco, sandalwood and oak spice. I notice indications of both zesty citrus fruit (lemon in particular) as well as a touch of fruity sourness with the two nuances playfully dancing together in the light breezes above my glass. The spices seem to build bringing bits of cardamom and ginger forward adding a bit of effervescence to the glass. I am happy with my observations so far.

In the Mouth  50/60

I taste a nice mixture of butterscotch, toffee, dank corn and vanilla as the whisky travels through my mouth with and oak and rye spices providing a complementary heat. Even more fruity rye (and some bitter citrus pith) comes though on the mid palate however this bitterness is offset by touches of sweet toffee. There are bit and pieces of damp tobacco and fermenting fruit which give this dram a flair similar to Canadian Club Whisky.  Some light touches of pickle juice, almond, and dabs of honeycomb round out the overall flavour.

Considering that this is a relatively young whisky, I am pleased. The spirit is quite sippable; and it also worked well in a few bar drinks I constructed (see one of my recipes below).

In the Throat  12.5/15

The exit is somewhat spicy with tobacco and a peppery cardamom spice providing the heat. Despite that heat, I found the spirit relatively smooth and easy on the throat. The rye continues to provide some pithy bitterness in the finish which is tempered by some lingering sweet caramel corn.

Afterburn  8.5/10

I am impressed with the Still Waters 1+11 Canadian Whisky. As the first whisky offering from the distillery, it is approachable, and tasty with a decent depth of flavour and as important, a good balance of interesting flavours. I look forward to what is coming from Still Waters in the future.

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


Suggested Recipe

Like all good Canadian Whiskies the Sill Waters 1+11 mixes very easily with ginger-ale making a nice Horse’s Neck and an even nicer Canadian Whisky Splash. To demonstrate the versatility of this particular whisky, I went in a different direction and my suggested recipe  is a modified Cosmopolitan based upon Grapefruit and Cranberry juice rather than the more familiar Lime and Cranberry juice. I call my recipe, the Crow’s Nest.

SAM_0890 Crow's NestCrow’s Nest
An Arctic Wolf Cocktail

1 3/4 oz Still Waters 1+11 Canadian Whisky
3/4 oz Cranberry Juice
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Triple Sec
1/2 oz sugar syrup
Orange slice for garnish

Add the first five ingredients to a metal cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker are frosted
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with an orange slice

Please Enjoy Responsibly!


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)


4 Responses to “Still Waters 1+11 Canadian Whisky”

  1. Greg said

    Great to see you reviewing the Still Waters products. I hope you get around to their Single Malt as it’s one of my favorite whiskys (Although I tend to prefer younger, higher strength products)

    Just a question/comment about the review. I was under the impression that their own “whisky” that they put into the 1+11 blend was un-aged whisky, as I thought they didn’t have any of their own fully mature three year old whisky at the time 1+11 was released. If I’m not mistaken, Canadian Whisky law allows the addition of 9.09% adjuncts into a blend. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Hi Greg

      The 9.09 % of other ‘adjuncts’ in the blend cannot be unaged spirit. I asked Hiram Walker Distillery Master Blender, Dr. Don Livermore specifically about this issue, and he told me that the only adjuncts that may be added to Canadian Whisky are wines and flavouring spirits. And these adjuncts must be aged a minimum of 2 years. I guess it is possible that some 2 year old flavouring spirit from Still Waters was added, but my understanding from the materials sent to me is that the portion of the whisky which is from Still Waters is Three years of age, as are their new Single Malts.

  2. Major Tom said

    I bought a bottle of this two weeks ago and find myself in essential agreement with your tasting notes. I also find a strong resemblance to Canadian Club (we call it CC). I used to drink my whisky with Coke but thanks to your suggestions I try the occasional cocktail now and again. If I might be so bold, the Canadian Caribou which you wrote about when you did your review for Black Velvet, is an excellent cocktail for this whisky.

    Thank You for the reviews, they have been most helpful.

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