Stalk & Barrel Cask 1 (62.3% alc/vol)

September 25, 2013


Sweet, poached pears, marzipan, juicy fruit gum, and apple pie with sweet ripe cherries, cinnamon, nutmeg, wet hay, and earthy rye. Grain dust and cream of wheat mellow hot white pepper. Youthful but mature beyond its years. ★★★☆

Two whisky buddies, with the unlikely names of Barry Stein and Barry Bernstein did what all of us dream of. They started their own distillery. Their goal was to make single malt whisky in Canada. Living off the avails of vodka and blended sourced whisky kept them afloat, but they yearned for the day when their single malt would reach market. Indoor ageing and careful selection of prime first-fill barrels has brought that day even sooner than they might optimistically have hoped. “We were very nervous,” they told whisky writer, Blair Phillips, “we were nowhere close at 2 years old.”

Their single malt whisky has passed the mandatory 3-year ageing mark and they are now bottling their Stalk & Barrel single malt, barrel by barrel. And honestly, at 3 years and a few months it’s ready. Cask 1 at 62.3% natural cask strength was first off the line, and it’s a doozie. This is young whisky, and it shows the eagerness of youth. At the same time, the flavours have mellowed long beyond their years in the barrel, and the roughness of new-make malt whisky has been well smoothed over. Yes, a few more years would have yielded a different whisky, one with more barrel notes, but it’s a respectable first bottling and the Barrys are to be congratulated.

Nose: Fresh clay, wet hay, nose tickle, hints of ripe fruit, juicy fruit gum.

Palate: Toffee, hot, sweet and quite creamy, hot pepper, mealy chocolate, grainy halva, nice oily mouthfeel, apple pie, cherry pie. Hot pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and maybe some ginger.

Finish: Longish and hot with some lingering sweetness.

Empty glass: Dry grain.



Still Waters Distillery, Toronto, Canada

Barry Stein and Barry Bernstein in their Still Waters Distillery, Concord, Ontario, just north of Toronto.

Chip Dykstra, the Rum Howler reviews Cask #1 here.

Stalk & Barrel series announced here.

Still Waters Distillery profile here.

Still Waters 1+11 Blend reviewed here.


8 Responses to “Stalk & Barrel Cask 1 (62.3% alc/vol)”

  1. Marc:

    Have been at Still Waters Distillery many times. One of my favorite whiskies. The guys are always friendly and welcoming. Cask 1 is a doozie for sure but I prefer cask 2. Pricing is in my opinion right on par with a good premium whisky. Thanks guys.

  2. Craig:

    I’m going to be really, really excited when these guys have a 10-year old product to release.

  3. Cask #1 was my favorite…
    I was told cask #5 for USA is quite excellent too.
    Very proud of these guys, they are doing a tremendous job.
    Can’t wait to taste their upcoming rye whisky.
    Keep the good work!

  4. Greg:

    It’s kind of funny. When this whisky was first released, it was you who convinced me to buy a bottle.Now it seems that I actually like the whisky more than you do :)

    I personally feel that Cask #1 is one of the best whiskies I’ve ever tasted. Granted I don’t think I’ve tried nearly as many as you have nor do I have your refined palate, but I just love this whisky. I would give it a 5/5 based on your scale, something which I would only give to a few other whiskies.

    • Davin:

      Yes, it is very tasty. It was a very tough one to score.

  5. Nozinan:

    I don’t know… $100 for a 3 year old malt whisky… definitely a premium price.

    Economies of scale might bring the price down, but I can get imported single malts that are cask strength and much older (and proven) for a lot less….

  6. [...] Stalk & Barrel Cask # 1 reviewed here. [...]

  7. Frank:

    Their single cask Malt whisky is very good, definite quality, patiently distilled spirit. I did enjoy it quite a bit; however, more cask time is needed it’ll be fun to try it again in 3 or 6 years.

    Their single cask Rye whisky is stunning no age statement on the bottle regardless it’s 3 years old first-fill Bourbon cask 61.4%, non-chilled filtered without E150a caramel colour, tonnes of character and charm excellent stuff and worth it, at least to me.

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