Last Straw Distillery

Review: Last Straw Distillery Rye Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Image copyright by Last Straw Distillery Corp. Used with Permission.

Image copyright by Last Straw Distillery Corp. Used with Permission.

ABV
43%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak Casks
Recipe
100% Rye
Distiller Last Straw (Vaughan, Ontario)

Last Straw has been waiting the long three years before their first whisky, and we have here the first - a big, 100% rye whisky. I was consulted in the early stages in helping them decide release proof, between 43%, 46%, and cask strength - 61.26%. They bottled at my favourite, 43% - it was good at all but the oak dominated at higher proofs while maturation hadn’t developed a bigger “middle” yet for the higher proofs.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2019

This is very spicy, and at the outset I know it is shaping up to be a great rye. It has the deep vegetal and spicy characteristics that I love in big rye whisky. The nose has apple, caramel, arugula, baking spice, lilac, brown sugar, and dried fruit – this is very good! The palate carries on from the nose, with a bit more of a bracing oak character. The spice, arugula, and dry spices really come through on the palate and lead through to the finish. It’s balanced with sweet oak and dried fruit. The finish has dried fruit, spice, arugula, caramel, oak, dried chanterelle mushrooms, and fennel.

Highly Recommended (49% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, but encroaching upon high.  I really like the stuff, even for $75.


Review: Last Straw Distillery Golden Gin by Jason Hambrey

Image copyright by Last Straw Distillery Corp. Used with Permission.

Image copyright by Last Straw Distillery Corp. Used with Permission.

ABV
44%
Aging
Charred Oak Casks
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Last Straw (Vaughan, Ontario)

A limited edition aged gin from Last straw, who also produce a standard Gin twenty-one, reviewed here.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2019

There is some real nice caramel to this, and some dense toasted oak, juniper, and loads of spice notes like coriander and toasted cumin. It really is quite nice as a sipper – I like this more than the standard gin, but it isn’t too oaky to fit into most gin or brandy cocktails. The oak character is nice and big, but not overpowering – and it has retained a nice lightness. It is another aged gin which has quite nicely bridged gin with a decently big oaky character, which is hard to find. Although, perhaps it should not be surprising coming from distilleries with a big passion for whisky. If it isn’t obvious from the review above, the woodiness here fits in very well with the juniper and the spices.

Whisky is my favourite spirit, and gin is probably second (some rums beat out gins, but on average, gins beat out rums for me). I wonder if gin “purists” would like this as much as me, given my liking of wood influence in aging.

I actually really like this in a gin and soda (a favourite cocktail of mine due to simplicity, lack of sweetness, and the refreshing character). The wood character works really well, and there is tons of subtle complexity. It’s really good just over ice, too.

Assessment: Highly Recommended.

$45 at Last Straw Distillery or on their online shop.


Review: Gin Twenty-One (Last Straw Distillery) by Jason Hambrey

Image copyright by Last Straw Distillery Corp. Used with Permission.

Image copyright by Last Straw Distillery Corp. Used with Permission.

ABV
46%
Aging
None
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Last Straw (Vaughan, Ontario)

As with many micro-distillers, Last Straw is focused on whisky, but producing a number of other spirits on the side both because they are worthwhile and to help generate cash flow. This gin was created through extensive work.  A large number of gin recipes were tested, and, soon enough, the alphabet-designated gins had run past "Z" and the numbers began. After producing about 40 different recipes of gin, Last Straw decided to narrow down their decision to their 7 best gins. They sold tickets to a number of guests, who could come to the distillery over three days, taste the gins, and vote for their favorites over three days. On the second day, Brandon, the distiller, had just finished distilling another gin which he believed to be the best. After bringing out this eighth gin, Gin No. 21, it lead all the consumer voting even though it was only present at 2 of the 3 days of voting. Consequently, it was selected and has been a hit for the distillery, being their biggest selling product. Many of the customers of the distillery say that they prefer sipping this gin straight, without mixing it - telling you something of the quality of the spirit.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: 1
  • Bottling Date: 2016
  • Bottling Code: N/A

Very soapy on the nose – cilantro, juniper, citrus, and a bit of spice too - but still grainy with notes of potato and oat cakes. The taste is clean yet in a full flavored style of gin, driven by juniper and lemon peel concluding in a citrus finish with lots of pine, coriander, and baking spice. I do like gins where the juniper doesn’t get lost, as in this one.

Over ice, this one actually brightens and narrows in focus – more leafy, and the pine, citrus, pepper, and juniper aromas all come into focus in a new light. I like it more in this fashion. But, it depends how you like to drink your gin, I suppose. It mixes well - pulling its weight more than many other gins because of the full flavor.

$40 dollars at Last Straw Distillery, 40 Pippin Rd #9, Vaughan, Ontario


Review: Dark Side of the Moonshine (Last Straw Distillery) by Jason Hambrey

Image copyright by Last Straw Distillery Corp. Used with Permission.

Image copyright by Last Straw Distillery Corp. Used with Permission.

ABV
46%
Aging
1 year; Tennesse Whiskey Barrel
Recipe
100% corn
Distiller Last Straw (Vaughan, Ontario)

This is not whisky, and so begins one of many non-whisky spirit reviews to come. Last Straw Distillery in Vaughan, Ontario, started selling their spirits this year and this week I will review a number in anticipation of their launch part for the "Darker Side of the Moonshine" on Friday, December 2.

Last Straw Distillery produce a number of products, and, while focused on the eventual prospect of their whisky, have released a number of other products in the meantime. One of these, Dark Side of the Moonshine, is based on a recipe of 100% corn, aged for 1 year in a Tennessee whiskey barrel. As a micro-distiller, however, focus is on innovation and experimentation, consequently, as this product continues it may come in many different forms.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: First
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2016

This smells like a dripping wet bourbon barrel. Plentiful spices, barrel char, walnut, pepper, toffee, and corn husks develop nicely before the nose opens up to reveal more brilliant nutty oils. The palate is clean, big, bold, and creamy, again driven by the bourbon cask but with some light pepper, dried corn husk, sunflower seeds, drying reeds, and mixed roasted nuts - it works a trick! Banana bread, toffee, and roasted hazelnut also find their place on a nice finish. Dried corn jumps from the empty glass.

$45 dollars at Last Straw Distillery, 40 Pippin Rd #9, Vaughan, Ontario

Score: 2/5