Review: Alberta Premium 30 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Alberta Premium 30.jpg
30 years
100% Unmalted Rye
Distiller Alberta (Calgary, Alberta)

This whisky was aged for 25 years before being recasked together into fewer barrels so that the level of whisky in the barrels remained higher for the final 5 years of maturation. It was bottled in 2011, selling for an astounding price of 50$. You’d be lucky to find a 30 year old Scotch or American whisky these days less than 5 times that price….The whisky, as with others in the Alberta Premium line, is made from 100% unmalted rye and this has resulted in the oldest rye bottling in memory. This stuff, even with the big age statement, is far above its lackluster little brother which shares the brand name.

Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A (the one and only)

  • Bottling Code: L1076AD100450841

  • Bottling Date: 2011

Nose: Surprisingly more wood driven than the 25 year old with only 5 more years - the casks they were re-casked into must have been a bit more active. Maple, old mossy oak, leather, sharp rye, molasses, candied orange peel, toffee, caramel – dark, sweet, and rich. Dry, also. Vanilla, and an array of spices.

Taste: Once again, great feel – and the weight of the oak is present here with a kick of arugula which carries the palate into the finish. The overall whisky is tinted with orange peel, and it plays interesting contrast with the caramel, oak, pine, and herbal notes of the rye. Spicy, rich, oaky – and this works very well with the rye grain behind it.

Finish: Arugula, caramel, oak, spices – clove and cinnamon – with a bit of a spicy feel to it. The tannins are quite a bit higher than the 25 year old, but they are by no means too much. There is also some rye layered beneath the rest.

Not as dry or complex as the 25 year old, and the wood has taken over a bit too much in this in that the complexity of the spirit is not as well presented as in the 25 year old. The caramel notes, though good, are pulling a bit more weight than they should. Regardless, a fascinating, complex, and wonderful offering from Alberta – and the wood is certainly shining through very well in this one. The whisky is quite full of both weight and subtlety.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Very high. $50 for a 30 year old, 100% rye - are you kidding!