Review: Stalk & Barrel Rye Canadian Whisky (Cask Strength) / by Jason Hambrey

~3.5 yrs; Bourbon Barrels
100% Rye (malted & unmalted)
Distiller Still Waters (Concord, Ontario)

This is the same rye as their 46% bottlings, except undiluted from the cask. I love their standard rye, so the cask strength offering is certainly also appealing!

Review (2016)

  • Batch: Cask 34, 61.4%
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2016

Some confectionary sweetness, pine, coconut, marshmallow, and a layer of complex spices and some nice spice. Dill pickle is prominent. On the palate – big and enveloping, with lots of oak, vanilla, dill, apple, and light bourbon notes and terrific tea notes. Finishes with marshmallows and rising spice. I really like this stuff. Terrific!

Score: 88/100

Value: 63/100 (based on $100)

Review (2016)

  • Batch: Cask 56, 60.2%
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2016

Anise candies, white pepper, mint, vanilla – quite sweet, in fact, on the nose. Oak, also, is present in greater quantity here. Some vegetal aromas like celery, too. Lightly earthy. Coconut. When diluted to 46%, it’s softer and more creamy and oaky than the two barrels I’ve tasted at 46%.

The palate is a lot softer than expected – but lots of spices still. The barrels I have tasted have been vibrant and spicy, so I figured this one would be that, only more amped up. Not so. Lots of cloves and cinnamon, black tea, and a bit of bubblegum too, which also comes through on the palate. It is young, but this is such quality distillate that it isn’t bad. Nice spice on the end too. Granny smith apples. Surprising amount of bubblegum. Some deep vegetable notes too…particularly on the finish. And honey, too.

Though I quite like it at cask strength, this one is not quite the quality of the previous two barrels I have tasted – not quite as complex. Still, however, terrific. I’m amazed, frankly – if someone were to tell me whether I would enjoy a 3 year old rye, matured in ex-bourbon barrels, at cask strength – I’d likely answer no. The distillate is just so terrific at Still Waters, though, that this one works out very well.

Score: 86/100

Value: 53/100 (based on $100)

Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2017

Grassy spice, oak, long-brewed black tea, icing sugar, and sharp pepper.  The palate is big, full of caramel, light corn husk notes, blueberry, black tea, and a tangy, spicy character. The finish is big, with spices and sweetness doing a bit of a dance. Brilliant spices, and lots of douglas fir notes – I love it, as usual. I rated a cask strength single malt higher this year, but I still like this style more.

The fir/pine notes are amazing, along with the grassy spice and the tea notes. At times, they almost leech to a tropical fruit like lychee. It’s remarkable. This is one of the most special and unique ryes I’ve tasted, and, frankly, I’m fascinated (which doesn’t happen often with me and flavor!).

Score: 87/100

Value: 58/100 (based on $100)