Alberta Premium

Maker: Alberta Distillers, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (Beam Suntory)wp-1467151542331.jpg

Style: Canadian Rye

Age: NAS

ABV: 40%

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.

Tangle Ridge

Maker: Alberta Distillers, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (Beam Suntory)wpid-2015-11-20-18.13.12.jpg.jpeg

Age: 10 y/o

Style: Double casked blended Canadian Rye

ABV: 40%

Michigan State minimum: $18

Appearance: Soft copper.

Nose: Grassy and pungent in a good way. Rye, black pepper, green cardamom, alcohol, cumin, ginger.

Palate: Characteristically mild, but with enough flavor to carry it. Tarragon, jalapeno, white pepper, roasted ginger.

Finish: Cola, alcohol, woodruff. Lasts for longer than expected.

Mixed: OK in an Old Fashioned, but I think I added too much sugar and bitters. Great in a Manhattan. Does very well on the rocks too.

Parting words: The last time I bought Tangle Ridge has to have been over five years ago. I didn’t really care for it then, because I got really big maple syrup notes out of it. Nauseatingly big. I don’t get that out of this at all. Either I misremembered, my palate was out of whack, or they changed their formula since then. They have changed the bottle since then, though. For the worse, I think. The old one was squat but with a long neck and ridges along the side. The current one is just a tall, dull, rectangular bottle.

So, what exactly is Tangle Ridge? The Beam Suntory website says it’s “made from 100% of the finest Canadian rye”, but the label just calls it a blended Canadian whisky, no mention of rye. Is this because the double casking process means they can’t call it rye? Or because “100% Canadian rye” refers to the flavoring whisky only, not the base whisky? Or is it of no significance?

Whatever it is, it’s good, especially for the price. At under $20, it’s a steal. Recommended.