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Rye … oh My | Blog #83

What a spectacular Thanksgiving weekend. On the annual pilgrimage out to Lake Minnewanka and with a carefully concealed bottle of Stalk and Barrel Cask Strength Rye in tow to spice up our fall.

This is only the second year for us but our friends have been at it for 5+ years. Utilizing one of the Banff National Park huts and stoking the stove we get some meat of choice going and load up on the ample pot luck offerings.

With a balmy fall temperature of 11.5% C and glorious sunshine it was spectacular to say the least. What a perfect setting for my first taste of something I have been looking forward to for a long time.

You might recall my tasting notes on the Stalk and Barrel 46% 100% Canadian Rye in Blog #73

Having picked up Best New Canadian Whisky at the Canadian Whisky Awards in January their 46% rye has done well and is starting to be picked up by many consumers looking for awesome Canadian craft distilling.

Well, it’s hard enough to find many 100% rye offerings in the market let alone a cask strength version.

Stalk and Barrel 100% Rye Cask Strength

-Cask Number 34 (meaning the 34th cask ever that Still Waters Distillery has bottled)

-Bottle number 15

-Alcohol volume 61.4 aged in a first fill ex-bourbon American Oak cask.

This cask in it’s entirety is exclusive to Alberta and only 2 retailers. Keg N Cork in Edmonton and Wainwright Liquor and Cold Beer store in Wainwright.

Tasted in a unique Whiskies of the World glass from the festival of the same name in San Francisco. Interesting glass that will no doubt find it’s way into a blog down the line as I continue my search for unique whisky glassware and compare them with the same whisky like I did in blog #8 I chose this glass because of it’s ample opening as this whisky boasts a considerable strength.

Colour: Golden and tending towards Amber Maple (using a Canadian color analogy).

Nose: Sweet clove and honey with a slight medicinal character. Can’t quite wrap my mind around it…. like a floral infused antiseptic swab but in a good way. There is no doubt that this nose is powerful and I was careful to approach it very gently.

Palate: Wow, fairly bursts onto the scene packing big fruits like a drunken tropical fruit salad with everything thrown in. Papaya, Guava, Pineapple, passionfruit and banana laced with sweet tangerine pieces.

It’s like a complete Hawaiian cocktail in a glass thats dusted with a combination of sweet spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg and there is that clove again. Caribbean Allspice.

Finish: Lingering on there is an almost unending finish carried powerfully along all the way to your very core by the very pimped out cask strength ride.

Wow! … is all I can say. This is my first opportunity ever to try a Canadian 100% Rye at Cask Strength and it is amazing.

Water: Really softens the nose a lot and you can get a lot closer to the caged animal and almost rub it’s tummy. More vanilla notes at play here now and the medicinal character is gone. A much tamer beast like a carefully crafted culinary desert plate. I think I actually liked the big jumble of fruit character that the cask strength brought to the table today a little more but this more orderly display could easily seduce me to drink this watered more often than not.

Stalk & Barrel Rye Stalk & Barrel Rye

There are only 192 bottles of this available and I would highly recommend if you are a fan of Canadian Rye that this is a must for your back bar.

Well done Still Waters and congratulations on beating all comers as one of the smallest distilleries in the competition.

Cheers Eh!


Canada Rules | Blog #73

G’day Eh!!

Sounds weird for sure but an Aussie now converted into an Ausadian or Cantralian and I can tell you that with the receipt of my Canadian passport and going through the citizenship ceremony I see myself as 100% both (well maybe slightly always a little more Aussie).

So for this coming Canada day I have saved something new and awesome.

For those that have been following along and thanks by the way, You will have read a little about the trials and tribulations of Still Waters distillery in Ontario

Having been involved almost from the beginning in working with Barry and Barry to sell whatever it was that they were working on I have slogged side by side with them for over half a decade. It is really exciting for me now to be still working with them as they are starting to receive some accolades after releasing some excellent whisky.

Today’s blog is all about Canadian whisky and getting small and crafty with it. “Rye” is what most Canadians call Canadian whisky by default. Quite often it is a misnomer because the bulk of “Canadian” whisky has little to no rye at all.

Here we have an example of 100% locally grown Ontario Rye being distilled by 2 guys that have had a passion for excellence and have done the really hard yards in the face of massive obstacles to become craft distillers in the hugely government controlled province of Ontario. Before I even taste, there is a massive amount of kudos and hat dipping to both of them for sheer perseverance and love for whisky which I also share.

So on to the whisky – Stalk and Barrel Rye bottled at 46% and aged in 1st fill ex bourbon casks with medium to heavy charring. Cask No. 24 (they number their casks combined so this is the 24th cask of any kind of whisky that they have bottled) Bottle number 138.

Tasted in a Glencairn – I know I don’t use this glass often for reviews but I have had this whisky before and wanted to really have the nose accentuated for me. At 46% I also didn’t think that the singular delivery to the palate would be detrimental.

Nose: Sweet soft recognizable rye, almost cotton candy (fairy floss in Australian) very little spicy character that you would normally associate with American rye. Hints of butterscotch and toffee apple. Wow this nose absolutely shines in a Glencairn this is seductively sexy whisky and is very very pretty. Floral wildflower essence but not at all perfume like. A touch of Bourbon background and all stirred together with a Madagascar vanilla bean.

Palate: Amazingly easy on the palate for a whisky of only just over 3 years aging. The signature rye spice is there but is so soft and playful it literally caresses the buds, imparting palate coating mouth feel and complexity that belies its age. I am in agreement with Davin de Kergommeaux from canadianwhisky.org. The Barry’s hit this one out of the park for their first Rye outing.

I will drink this regularly and often. You might remember in Blog #70 that I used this in a hot toddy when I was under the weather. Well right about now I am thinking what the heck was I doing throwing whisky such as this into a hot toddy mix. In my defence though better cocktails and or toddy’s require better base spirits and this is one of them.

Finish: Continues on the way it started with enveloping soft spice with the tiniest zip on the tongue that lets you know it is 100% rye at heart. Takes a really long time to dissipate and is a gorgeous sipper. I will be tipping this bottle a lot this Summer.

Please remember that as owner of Secret Spirits I represent this whisky. I wish I could tell you that I am just bias and trying to flog you a bottle of whisky that I will benefit from the sale thereof, but that would be a load of crap. This is really, really good whisky and fully deserves the recent award as “best new Canadian Whisky” at this years Canadian Whisky Awards.

Prove me wrong and grab a bottle. I would love to hear from anyone with a craft Canadian whisky experience as there are more and more small distilleries popping up to take on the big guys.

Happy Canada Day eh!

(Aussie/Canadian hybrid)