The Stalk & Barrel 1 + 11 Canadian Whisky

60 ml biltong tang in a mini

stalk-and-barrel-1-plus-11-canadian-whiskyTasting notes:
We Impostors in the Malt Cave are Men Capable of Mathematics. We pride ourselves on our polydactyly status, on our six fingers on each hand. Whereas some might quail before a problem as mighty as “1 + 11,” we plunge in and start counting. I immediately took the “1” on my thumb, and counted off the “+ 11” on my other thumb and ten fingers. We feared error: we each counted three times more. The total was always 12! So, why does the Stalk and Barrel 1 + 11 Canadian Whisky not simply call itself the Stalk and Barrel 12 Canadian Whisky? It’s a mystery! We researched it assiduously (we googled it). One site suggested that a Canadian whisky may contain 1/11 new spirits or wine???? No evidence we uncovered, including the official regulations, have confirmed that improbable hypothesis. Some things are beyond science. Some things are beyond Google.

So: the Stalk and Barrel 1 + 11 Canadian Whisky. The nose is witch hazel incarnate—could it be 1/11 witch hazel? Botanical like a gin? Spa-like, like a spa run by a coven? It suggests an alcoholic body rub that’s waiting to unleash the full power of its fraughtness—it’s conceivable I made up that word—on an unsuspecting client. If it were a college graduate, it would be proudly illiterate, telling one and all that its understated, yet undeniable, force mind-controlled professors into giving it a passing grade. And then it would chuckle quietly and ominously to itself.

The mouth is light and creamy; a chiffon uploaded into the clouds. It’s got a solid sycamore-smoked biltong tang that lurks, then leaps while I’m distracted by counting my fingers, again. We found aerosolized powdered hay, demented sage leaves wandering around wondering what happened to the elk venison, and crushed myrtle leaves garnishing the mess of pottage.

The finish is insistent. It’s peppery, dashed with a hint of cinnamon, and it impels an inexorable motion to the tip of my tongue. It’s a gastronomic illusion:  I know the whisky is going down my throat, but my sensations insist it’s aiming at egestion rather than digestion. It’s the “taste” equivalent of this optical illusion; the finish is Sisyphus-like just…out…of…reach. Every time I pin down where the finish finishes, it emerges elsewhere. The witch hazel comes back, too. Or did it ever leave?
On the scale of things brought to you by the number 12
 The Stalk and Barrel 1 + 11 Canadian Whisky could be the optical illusion linked to above! There are, after all, 12 black dots emerging and disappearing in the gray grid. But no, it’s the dodecahedron! A 12-sided Platonic solid? Solid! Faces are pentagons? Witch hazel! And my love for it is Platonic.

–Our thanks to Raj Sabharwal and PVI Global for the sample!


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