Alberta Premium has been attempting to live up to its name in recent years, pumping out a series of annually released cask strength versions of its iconic rye whiskey — made with 100% rye in the mash — as well as very old age-statemented offerings like this 20 year old.
Today, we take a step back and look at the whiskey that started it all, Alberta Premium Blended Rye, which carries no age statement but still promises it’s made from 100% rye grain. It’s long been a staple in Canada — and is indeed the world’s top selling 100% rye whiskey, according the the company — but only became available for sale in the U.S. in 2022.
The stuff is classic rye, with an aggressive nose of green grass, toasted oak, and just a hint of dried orange peel. A slightly industrial quality tempers expectations, giving the whiskey a distinctly youthful introduction. The clear sweetness of the palate isn’t evident from the nose, but there’s plenty on the tongue, a spun sugar character that melds with notes of mandarin oranges, then switches to showcase notes of marzipan. It’s easy to see why people guzzle Canadian whiskey and Coke based on how refreshing and bright the whiskey is in glass on its own, with plenty of caramel- and almond-driven sweetness masking understated notes of green beans and that unavoidable grassy quality that comes with pretty much any rye. The finish sees a reprise of a touch of that industrial quality, but it’s never overwhelmingly harsh or offensive.
At $26 this won’t replace Rittenhouse as my house rye, but I wouldn’t complain about it seeing uptake in the States as a go-to rail option.
B / $26 / albertadistillers.com