Alberta Distillers. Calgary’s secret little gem nestled in the gorgeous heart of…Ogden industrial park. Ummm…yeah. Ok, so maybe we don’t have quite the austere beauty surrounding our amazing little distillery that many of the big producers in Scotland have, but let’s dismiss the concept of terroir for now, and simply appreciate the contents of the cask.
Award winners, and in recent days finally embracing a little bit of innovation with their exceptional product, Alberta Distillers Limited, or ADL as they are colloquially known, have become sort of ‘darlings’ of late in the whisky world. Rightly so. This is damn good stuff, and it warms my heart to know that we’re producing something so exceptional in our own backyard.
The distillery’s true claim to fame is in producing one of the world’s very few 100% pure rye whiskies. Rye, just so we’re clear, is known as a grain extremely difficult to work with. The yield is generally not as high as other mashes and it is apparently sticky as hell, gumming up the works and causing no end of headaches.
The distillery’s flagship expression, Alberta Premium, is a young (5 year, give or take) 100% rye, full of character and pristine in its clean lines and sharp profile. This spirit that works so well at 5 years truly spins itself into liquid gold at later ages, as evinced by limited edition releases of 25 and 30 year olds, already long sold out.
The nose is all rich spice, smooth vanilla and sweet caramel. Rye, of course, but light and familiar. Not heavy and brooding like a dark German rye. Dry dusty popcorn (no butter…no salt). Lemon Pledge, rock hard crunchy berry. This whisky is sleek, seductive, sexy and elegant. It’s like silk pajamas on silk sheets. If you’re a malter who loves your beefy Scottish fare, be prepared for something entirely new. Candian whisky is something sweeter…deep in spice…light and confident enough to let the grains really sing.
The delivery is effortlessly smooth. Creamy and mouth-coating. Buttermilk silkiness threaded with toffee, vanilla and sweet fruit. Caramel apple. Clean spicy rye. Exceptionally drinkable. My only real complaint here is a rather short finish. Otherwise…not a hitch to be found.
If this wasn’t enough to seduce, how does ~$20-25 a bottle sound?
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt