Review: Stout Spirit (Last Straw Distillery) / by Jason Hambrey

Stout Spirit 2.jpg
4 months; Re-charred California Wine Cask
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Last Straw (Vaughan, Ontario)

This spirit was made from a high gravity stout mash with no hops, using a distillers yeast. It was made in collaboration with Vaughan’s Lake Wilcox Brewing Co., who make a powerhouse Irish stout. The spirit was mashed at the brewery, but then fermented for nearly two weeks (!) at the distillery before being double distilled to 88% ABV (a very clean white spirit at this percent!). It was then aged for 4 months in a California wine cask which was re-charred to #3.

Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2021

The nose here is amazing. All kinds of fruit, including banana and pear, a smoky woody character, baking spices, vanilla, and a deep roasted grain/toast characteristic. The woody smokiness is just awesome. I’ve tasted a lot of young spirits, and I can usually pick them out quite clearly – this one, however, I would assume is in the range of a few years of age. There is the fact that the intense wood character is more absorption of flavour rather than maturation – but, in this case, it works perfectly and it’s just what I want. On the palate we have a battle of intensity – intense banana and fruit oppose smoky oak, and eventually the fruit wins out but the tannins still hold on through the finish. The finish is smoky, oaky, spicy, and loaded with fruit.

I love the word “moreish”. It certainly applies here.

Very Highly Recommended. As a whisky, it would be a “highly recommended” but given its age and the obvious care that’s been put into this one – I have to look at it for what it is, a 4 month old spirit. And if I look at it through that lens, what they’ve done here is remarkable.