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Park Distillery Glacial Rye

Review: Park Distillery Glacial Rye   82.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted On April 22, 2018

Park Distillery  is located in the town of Banff, Alberta. The facility is not just a distillery, it is also a Restaurant and bar which opened in May of 2015 shortly after the Provincial government introduced new regulations which allowed for Craft distilleries to operate. Located high in the Mountains of Banff Provincial Park, the Distillery proudly serves regionally produced food in its restaurant, and local (sourced from high-altitude family farms in the Alberta foothills) grains to produce their spirits.

Park Distillery Glacial Rye is produced on the distillery’s 600L Kothe Pot – Twin Column Hybrid Still. It is made from 100% Alberta Rye and glacial water which originated at six high glaciers in the Rocky Mountains. This water gains minerality as it travels across rich limestone deposits. The spirit is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 4/5

The sample bottles I was sent for my reviews of the Park Distillery Gin, Vodka, and Glacier Rye were small 200 ml bottles. I did receive a bottle shot of the 750 ml bottle from the distillery, but as you can see, my photo editing skills abandoned me and the photo looks kind of washed out. The bottle is much nicer than the photograph implies.

The bottle is medium tall with a stout cylindrical shape and a short neck which is just long enough to permit pouring without spilling. The front label is quite nice, and the back label lets us know the Glacier Rye was produced.

The bottle is sealed with a synthetic cork which is wrapped in clear plastic.

In the Glass 8/10

The spirit is completely clear, and when I tilt and twirl my glencairn it deposits only a light sheen on the inside of the glass which coalesces into  skinny legs which trickle and dissolve quite quickly.

The nose is very interesting with scents of mushy banana and plantain rising alongside zesty citrus notes and fresh spicy rye grain. I also notice hints of baked squash and a very light astringency (which is expected when one examines unaged spirits).  All in all I am quite pleased.

In the Mouth 50/60

When I sipped the Glacier Rye spirit, I found that the rye and citrus spices seemed to coexist well with the underlying vegetal flavours of banana and squash. I can taste the light minerality of the glacier water and this seems a nice complement bringing a sort of mild earthiness to the dram. There is just a touch of astringency which heats the back of the throat, however as this is an unaged rye spirit, I can easily forgive this.

The spirit will almost certainly will be found more often in mixed drinks and cocktails, so I thought I would try a few. I began with a splash of ginger-ale and some ice. It wasn’t quite what I wanted so I switched up and made a recipe I found on the Park Distillery website called Back Country Tea (see recipe below). I enjoyed the Park Distillery cocktail immensely; but I could not resist creating my own recipe for the rye spirit as well (see recipe below).

In the Throat 12/15

The light bodied finish is short with just a touch of spicy astingency which crosses the tonsils after the swallow. Rye grain and hints of mushy banana linger for just a little while before fading away.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

The Glacier Rye spirit from the Park Distillery was an unexpected treat. Although it is not a sipping spirit, it takes to mint and citrus juice (lemon or lime) in a big way which means that the rest of my 200 ml sample bottle will not last very long.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipe

Back Country Tea
Photo and recipe courtesy Park Distillery

2 oz Park Distillery Glacier Rye
1 oz fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Sugar Syrup
5 Mint Leaves
Iced Tea

In a mixing glass, muddle the first three ingredients with a few mint leaves
Remove the mint ans pour the mixture into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a serving glass filled with ice
Top with a Splash of Iced Tea
Garnish with Mint

Enjoy Responsibly!


Johnson Canyon Smash

2 oz Park Distillery Glacier Rye
1 oz fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz Ginger Syrup

Slap a few Basil and Mint leaves and drop them into a mixing glass with ice.
Add the Glacier Rye, the lime juice and ginger syrup
Muddle and Stir until very cold
Strain into a serving glass filled with ice
Garnish with Basil or Lime

Enjoy Responsibly!
(The Mint at the grocery store looks so limp and uninviting that I’ll wait to snap a nice picture once my mint plants are ready this spring.)

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


As usual, you may interpret the scores I provide as follows:

0-25   A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)


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