We took Alberta Premium Cask Strength for a spin last year after the Canadian rye whisky won Jim Murray’s coveted “World Whisky of the Year” for 2020. We didn’t quite agree with Mr. Murray’s assessment, but then again, the expression more widely available in the states, which we reviewed, doesn’t appear to have been the same whiskey he reviewed. Perhaps the good folks in Canada got to keep that one. Anyway, Alberta Distillers is back with yet another cask strength release of this 100% rye whiskey. I think my palate has finally recovered from the four-alarm fire that was last year’s release. Fingers crossed I won’t need the fire hose for this one.
Instantly cooler on the nose but still showing plenty of heat with an aroma that alternates somewhat erratically between fresh wintergreen and dried tropical fruits: pineapple, kiwi, and mango. It’s a bit peculiar but a welcome change from the 2020 release. There’s character here, even if it is a touch oversweet and intensely fruity. On the palate, the heat is again the first thing to introduce itself, but it’s not nearly the punch in the face of the last release. There’s still too much alcohol, but it tempers quickly into a mix of Banana Runts and a warming rye spice that becomes more herbal and grassier into the finish with a hint of brown spices and some toasted sugar sweetness. An improvement over last year’s to be sure, but still far from “Whisky of the Year” territory, in my humble opinion.