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Alberta Distillers Alberta Premium Aged 20 Years

Two APs - Part I

6 587

@talexanderReview by @talexander

19th Dec 2019


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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In the always-developing world of premium Canadian whiskies (well, developing for the last three or four years anyway, since Corby's first Northern Border Rare Collection altered the landscape), Alberta Distillers has come out with both a 20 Year Old and a Cask Strength expression. They had previously released 25 and 30 year old variants (the 25 was better) but that was quite a few years ago. The 20 is a limited edition, bottled at a slightly higher strength of 42% (rather than the standard's 40).

The colour is a dark caramel. On the nose are classic Alberta Premium notes dialled up: thick toffee, vanilla bean, fruitcake and citrus peel - all supported by a backbone of buttered corn (and yes, I know there is no actual corn here, all rye). Hint of balsamic, I think? Slightly perfumy. A nice burst of oak spices (cinnamon, cloves, white pepper) envelopes it all. With a few drops of water, more perfume, more balsamic and some buttery croissant. Very nice.

Spicier on the palate with rum raisin, dark caramel, more cloves and blood orange. Creamy, buttery mouthfeel with honey everywhere. Pralines. Peanut skins. Gets much spicier with time in the glass. More of everything with water. Mouth-watering and delicious.

The finish is terrific - long, ashen, spicy with tons of mouth-drying oak. This is where it really stands out. Elegant yet complex - but with no real surprises - this is a lovely though straightforward dram. Side-by-side with standard AP, it shows it's age; more oak and caramel, less fruit and rye spice. But where the 20 really works is the finish, a long developing lecture on the beauty of what very good Canadian whisky can be. Next, let's up the ABV to around, oh I dunno, 65.1% and see what happens....

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Nozinan commented

Great review. I’m looking forward to trying this.

BTW, I liked the 30 better than the 25...

3 years ago 0

OdysseusUnbound commented

I was preparing to write this one up, and I came back to this review. I find our palates are normally similar but this reads like a completely different whisky than what I’ve got. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that at this point, AP 20 is by far the most disappointing whisky I’ve ever purchased. I don’t know if I got a bad bottle, but mine is bad. Really bad. In the “same category as Lambertus” bad. The nose is downright offensive and has gotten worse with some time and air exposure. I’ll hold off on my own review and hope that time makes this better....

2 years ago 0

talexander commented

@OdysseusUnbound Wow - very interesting! Maybe I'll try it again and see if it is still consistent with my notes...

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@talexander I have no reason to doubt you. Plenty of people seem to enjoy this one and I was quite hopeful. Perhaps my senses are the problem. Maybe there’s something in my particular bottle that my senses are reacting to negatively. I’ve bottled a sample of mine for @Nozinan and maybe he’ll be able to better clarify this situation.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

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