Even though I’m not an expert on whisky, my senses enjoy everything from the taste and smell to the texture of the whisky. In my early twenties, I couldn’t stomach straight liquor. I always had to add a mix i.e Coke, Ginger Ale . In the past years, my tastes have changed and single malt whisky has become one of my favourites spirits to enjoy. Served neat, the majority of the time.
While looking for new things to do, we discovered a micro-distillery in Concord, Ontario called Still Waters Distillery. After exploring their website, we were able to easily book a tour by e-mail.
One of the things I loved about visiting the distillery was seeing the owners passion. Barry Stein and Barry Bernstein are the co-founders and owners of Still Waters Distillery, starting their business in 2009. They are currently the only micro-distillery in Ontario and are doing a great job producing vodka, brandy, and their love, single malt whisky. They also created a Canadian blended whisky, combining their own whisky with others Canadian whiskies and working on new products. Everything is made in small batches with 2 barrels of single malt produced a week.
It was cleaning day when we arrived so we didn’t get to see any of the processes in action, but Barry did a great job of describing the processes to us and showing us the equipment. Everything, besides growing the grain is done in house, from mashings to bottling, from grain to glass. We were taught the step by step processes and the differences in distilling whisky and vodka.
After the tour, we were able to try samples. The first sample was the ‘new makes’, which is the alcohol before it’s placed in the barrels. I was surprised to learn that it’s colourless at this stage and it’s the aging in the barrel that adds the colour. After sampling the rye and single malt new makes, next up was their vodka. Still Waters vodka is strong but smooth and I was able to enjoy its clean taste. However , my heart and palate was waiting for the single malt. I sampled cast #1, #2, #3 and their blended 1+11. Out of the four, my favourite was #1 and #2, the cast strength whisky. The whisky is young, only 3 years of aging, but it tastes like it has been aged longer. My mother who joined me found them all too strong but whisky isn’t her thing. However, she did pick up a bottle of vodka. The hand crafted whisky is well worth the price.
I’m glad we stumbled upon their distillery, I only wish they could ship to British Columbia, but a bottle is coming home with me to enjoy with my friends. I’m not sure how long it will last as I can see having friends over, enjoying the summer nights while sipping a drink.
If you are close to Toronto, I highly recommend going for a tour. The tour and samples are free, and you can purchase their products in person or have them shipped to you if you live in Ontario (due to the law). Their vodka can be purchased at the LCBO. Hopefully they will be successful in getting their products carried in British Columbia. I will be asking anyone from Ontario coming to visit to pack a bottle of their single malt whisky in their luggage for me!