Maker: Alberta Distillers, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (Beam Suntory)
Style: Canadian Rye
LCBO price: C$26 ($20 US)
Appearance: Pale copper.
Nose: Roasted corn, cut grass, leather, lavender, alcohol.
Palate: Semi-dry. Woodruff, jalapeno, butterscotch.
Finish: Hot and grassy. Hangs around a long time.
Mixed: Didn’t get a chance to try it in many drinks. It very well in an Old Fashioned and excellent in a Sazerac. OK in a Manhattan, but I that may have been the weird vermouth I used.
Parting words: Alberta Distillers is a unique distillery. Unlike most Canadian distillers, Alberta doesn’t produce a multi-grain blend, but whiskies from 100% rye. This made it very attractive at the beginning of the rye boom when rye was hard to come by. A few companies like Whistle Pig and Jefferson’s took to bottling Alberta rye and charging a premium for it. It was good stuff to be sure, but it’s hard to beat the original for the price. It’s not available on US shelves, but those of us fortunate to live near the border have no excuse not to grab a few bottles when we can. Canadian Club (also owned by Beam Suntory) has been using Alberta rye to fill its new Chairman’s Select label (Now available in the US for about the same price as Alberta Premium), so if this sounds like your cup of tea, it might be worth trying that one out. Needless to say I’ll be reviewing CC Chariman’s Select in the near future.
At any rate, Alberta Premium is a good solid whisky at a good price. Equally good mixed and neat. It’s recommended.