Sometimes, against every inclination, I tend to pre-judge a whisky. Well, that’s not entirely correct. It’s more sometimes I think I have an idea what a whisky will taste like before I actually taste it. It doesn’t happen very often, but most times I’m right. At least in my own head. But every now and then I’m totally off base. My first sip of Alberta Premium Cask Strength showed me how wrong I was.
Nestled in Calgary, Alberta, birthplace of the greatest wrester ever – Bret Hart, Alberta Distillers has been cranking out whisky since 1946. This Cask Strength is their latest big release, and it seems lots of folks have been taking notice. Apparently it’s been sold out for months in Canada. Made from a 100% rye mash bill, Alberta Premium Cask Strength comes in at a hearty 66% ABV. Of note, my sample is from a Canadian batch bottled at 65.1% ABV. With any batched whisky, there might be slight variances in flavor, though the overall profile remains the same.
And what a profile.
On the nose, hints of aromatic vanilla meet with honey, sweet oak, and a touch of spice. Nutty toffee and caramel candy kick off the palate. Hints of vanilla, fruit, and rye spice develop mid-palate, with a slight espresso note coming in right before the finish. The rye spice isn’t sharp or “green,” which is what I find in some younger rye whiskies. For what it’s worth, there’s no age statement here. It’s rarity that a whisky this strong is enjoyable at its bottling proof. No water needed here, but a splash helps widen the flavor landscape a touch. The finish is long and warming, with hints of maple syrup, black pepper, and toasted rye bread.
Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye is hands down one of the most memorable rye whiskies I’ve tasted in a while. It checks all the boxes for what I look for in a good rye whisky – high proof, a balance of sweet and spicy, and some complexity. This whisky has these in spades. Best part – the price. Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye has an SRP of $69.95, quite the bargain for what you get. It’s a limited edition, so I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up a bottle or two if you see it on the shelf.
Thanks to Alberta Distillers for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.