Alberta Premium Rye 25Yr Old
Review: Alberta Premium Rye 25 Yr Old (100% Rye Whisky) 95.5pts
A Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on November 1, 2009
Alberta Distillers the distillers of Alberta Premium 25 year Old Whisky is owned by Fortune Brands whose stable of whiskey brands includes, Jim Beam Brands, Canadian Club Whisky, Knob Creek, Makers Mark and Laphroig just to name a few. The distillery is in the heart of the City of Calgary. This is a true Canadian rye whisky, made from 100% prairie grown rye. It is quite unlike anything else produced by any Canadian distiller (or anyone else for that matter).
In the Bottle (4.5/5)
This has to be the most understated presentation of a 25 yr old spirit found anywhere in the world. What Alberta Distillers got right was the black protective sleeve which protects the spirit and quite rightly quotes Whisky guru Jim Murray’s assessment that this is the finest Canadian whisky currently produced. What Alberta Distillers got wrong is the bottle itself. The 25 Year Old whisky is packaged in an identical bottle to its five-year old sister. Only the Label is changed. The whisky deserves a better presentation. But at less than $30 a bottle for a 25-year-old spirit, I can be very forgiving.
In the Glass (9.0/10)
Once poured the whisky begins to show its character. A hint of prairie meadow rises from the glass with a full barrel of spicy rye. What is so inviting is the incredibly clean nose. This is all about rye. The aroma is not harsh, rather it is invigorating.
In the Mouth (58.0/60)
I love a paradox, and here we have a beauty. Rye is spicy, and grabs your taste-buds and won’t let go. Here we all that rye flavour; but, instead of burning your mouth with spice, this sits gently and smoothly on the palate. In fact this is one of the smoothest whiskies I have ever tasted. Earthy, spicy rye flavour first, second and third, and only the lightest hint of toffee sits in the mouth. This is rye whisky as it is meant to be. No off-notes of thick bourbon to spoil the parade.
In the Throat (14.5/15)
Again I marvel at the smooth profile the whiskey displays. No harshness, just clean and nice all the way down. Again the rye is foremost, but in the slide down the throat other flavours leave their haunting presence as well. Nothing distinct, just slippery vestiges of chocolate, cinnamon, toffee, and honey that finally leave their mark on the exit.
The Afterburn 9.5/10
There was a time thirty to forty years ago when Canadian whisky was the in thing. A time before the mad rush to bourbonize the spirit for the sake of the American palate. I like to imagine that I can remember that clean taste. Unfortunately about 25 years ago the whisky began to change. Distillers were increasing the corn in the mash to save money (or to appeal to another palate), and then increasing flavouring ingredients (Canadian whisky is allowed 9.09% flavouring) to compensate for the loss of the rye flavour. But now, another change seems to be underway, which is bringing Canadian whisky back to its roots in rye. Alberta Premium tastes like Canadian Whisky is supposed to taste, with no compromise to the false Gods of Bourbon and Single Malt Scotch!
You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
As always 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.)