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

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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.★★★☆$99.95 Still Waters Distillery, Toronto, CanadaChip 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.