Stalk & Barrel Single Malt Canadian Whisky

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A few weeks back I happened upon a massively marked down bottle of Stalk & Barrel Canadian single malt whisky at an LCBO in Ajax. While I can recall enjoying some of the Stillwaters Distillery's whiskies in the past, I could never really go in on the price point. It always seemed to be too high for such young spirit given what else is available. 

But this time I had a sign; I had to try it! 

The Concord, Ontario micro-distillery has taken a real hands-on approach to their whisky-making and do everything: mashing, fermenting, distillation, and warehousing on site. The single malt is made from 100% Canadian two-row malted barley and is aged in ex-bourbon casks for at least 3 years. Each barrel is bottled individually as a single cask offering in individually numbered bottles, offered at either cask strength or at 46% ABV. 

My bottle was number 128 from cask 109 at 46% ABV, it's natural coloured and non chill-filtered.
Nose: Intense aromas of new oak, a dusting of powdered ginger and a smell reminiscent of soggy card-stock sprayed with a fruity perfume, like what you might find in a damp, women's interest, magazine. 

Palate: Medium-bodied with a heavy wallop of peppery spice. New oak flavours dominate and all I taste is wood, apple cores and ginger.

Finish: Ultra dry with a long, lingering, almost sour woodiness, lightly sweetened by starchy apple cores.

Overall: Hot, woody, bitter and bland, there's nothing going right for this Canadian single malt. I have to give Stillwaters credit for their DIY approach and the commitment to a single cask whisky but this is simply a bad single malt. I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one, and considering the breathless praise from the drinks press about this expression, maybe I just had an overactive barrel; a batch variant. Maybe that's why it was on sale in the Ajax LCBO for $20 off the regular retail price of $69.95? Regardless, even with the sale, this one wasn't worth the buy.


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