Canadian rye whisky still isn’t getting the hype it deserves. That’s a shame. But the tide is shifting (slowly), as brands like Barrell Craft Spirits integrate amazing Canadian barrels into their bespoke releases. It also helps that WhistlePig now admits they use the stuff in their bottles too. But overall, Canadian rye is still a footnote to the wider whisk(e)y boom.
Becasue of that, killer bottles like Alberta Premium Cask Strength often languish on the shelf. Which, again, is too bad.
Alberta Premium put out a pretty great whisky with their Cask Strength expression late last year. It’s well-priced, easy to find, and, guess what? It tastes pretty freaking good. What more could you want in a premium whisk(e)y release?
Below, I’m giving you my professional opinion of what’s in the bottle. Overall, this whisky continues to slip under the radar for a lot of whiskey folks. That’s an advantage for everyone else in that you can actually find this for a good price. Good whiskey that’s not marked up on the aftermarket is always a good thing. Let’s get into it!
Also Read: The Top Five Rye Whiskey from the Last Six Months on UPROXX
Alberta Premium Cask Strength 2021 Edition
ABV: 63.7% (varies)
Average Price: $65
The whisky starts off with rye grains grown on the Alberta plains. Those malted grains are then mixed with glacial water from the Rocky mountains before fermentation begins. The juice is distilled and loaded into ex-bourbon barrels for an undisclosed amount of time (a minimum of four years). The barrels are then selected for this expression, vatted, and bottled as-is with no proofing.
The faceted bottle is a mid-century eye-catcher with a subtle label. The pebble effect plays nicely and stands out. The bottle also comes in a nice box that works as a good gifter. Overall, it’s a unique presentation for a unique whisky.
There’s a hint of Cherry Twizzlers on the nose that leads to soft cedar tobacco boxes from the last century with a hint of used vanilla pods. The palate takes dark and tart currants and dips them in creamy yet dark chocolate with a dusting of nutmeg and clove next to vanilla-laced shortbread dipped in black tea. The mid-palate balances a hint of dark cherry tobacco with more of that old cedar as the creamy vanilla sneaks in and smoothes everything out. The end has a slight green peppercorn vibe that circles back to the nutmeg and clove with a tiny touch of woody cinnamon and more of those tart berries and a minor note of savory fig and… maybe melon (?) on the very backend.
This is complex and rich without being overpowering in the slightest. There is a tiny bit of spicy warmth on the mid-palate but it never overpowers the rich and creamy flavor profile. Moreover, this leaves you wanting another pour. It’s enticing yet sooting and a little refreshing.
91/100 — This is really solid. It’s an easy and rewarding sipper with hardcore ABVs that hides them well in a masterful build.