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Alberta Premium 25 Year Old

Average score from 3 reviews and 4 ratings 86

Alberta Premium 25 Year Old

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Alberta Premium 25 Year Old

This is a three way H2H with AP30 and standard NAS Alberta Premium (2 unicorns and a workhorse). I received this sample from @paddockjudge 4-5 years ago. I opened it to help prepare for my first taste of Handy Rye at an epic tasting held by @talexander. There were about 15 cc left in the sample bottle (I think it was gassed).

This expression, in a Glencairn, is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting. I nosed all the whiskies before tasting them, going from oldest to youngest.

Nose: 20.5/25

Dill pickle juice. Some rye spice. Dust, something floral. Delicate but underpowered nose.

Taste: 20/25

Thin. Initially flavours are muted. Some spice in the development, with vanilla most prominent. But a little weak

Finish: 20.5/25

Vanilla and pepper.

Balance: 21/25

Too weak, nose and palate do complement each other.

Score: 82/100

Comparing the three:


The standard AP had the strongest but least complex nose. The 25 was more floral and rounded, but a little soft. The 30 was the most inviting, complex nose


The 25 was a bit washed out and thin. The standard was bold but a little sweet and unidimentional, and the 30 had bold flavour and some breadth.

Interestingly, water did not have a significant effect on any of them. The NAS gets a little sweeter.

I have a feeling this sample was past its best before date, because in the past when I’ve tasted AP25 I’ve enjoyed it much more. I’m willing to reassess, if only I could get my hands on some…

There is only so much unicorn to go around, when you get one, you've got to take it for a ride, not leave it tied to a post. I believe your sample of AP 25 YO has been compromised, perhaps the gas, perhaps the air. It is unfortunate that you weren't able to enjoy this as it was intended...how do I know this?...a score of 82 for this whisky would be believable if it were 82/90, not 82/100. Perhaps some day soon we will get into a bottle of AP 25.

@paddockjudge You are, as always wise in your assessment of all things whisky, especially Canadian whisky.

This is why I would very much like to get through a lot of my samples and pare down my open bottle inventory. For me, FORO of a unicor could cause me to miss out as well.


This whisky, a 25 year old 100% rye whisky, is undoubtedly one of the most unique bottlings in the modern era of whisky. It was bottled in 2006, from distillate at least 25 years old at one of the foremost, if not the foremost, rye distillery in the world, Alberta Distillers. It sold in 2007 for an astounding price of less than 30 dollars - in hindsight almost a free giveaway, and there are stories of great competition for the bottles that were available in Ontario - preceding what now is all too common of a phenomena. There were between 5000 and 6000 bottles produced, and from time to time rumours circulate of another batch, but still no other batch has been released, nor is there any clear indication of another batch to come at this time.

I can't thank @paddockjudge enough for being the means for me to both have a sample of this and now to have a bottle of it.

Nose: If you know the standard Alberta Premium, this is clearly that - but yet entirely different, and so much better. Much like if you smell a 12 year old and a (good) 18 year old of the same distillate, you are able to sit in wonder at what time in wood can do. Orange peel, caramel, rich wood, leather, vanilla, musty wood, deep molasses notes as in old rums, there is some dustiness to it as well, and sugars and oak seem to come out as it sits. Yet, despite all the wood, it is surprisingly fresh. And the nose grows, too - come back to it after a taste and you sense more of the dryness, more of what those years in oak do. With time, you get sitting grain - as you might find if you were to store rye in a mason jar and as the smell fills the jar pop the lid off and breath in. Oh so rich and dry....it's one of those noses you remember. 95%

Taste: Mouthcoating, with a wonderful balance of light vanilla, light spices, oak and wood which evolves in the mouth, and the lightest hint of berry fruitiness lifting the entire experience out. Rye is there, distinctively as well, not overcome by oak but leading the way in fact with light spices - clove, cinnamon - coming out in a flurry at the end. It's long, and you can certainly make little sips go a long way. In little patches, you get little tastes of the arugula seen so clearly in the bold rye they use in the blends (seen in detail in bottlings like Masterson's, Whistlepig, of Jefferson's). 98%

Finish: Strawberries, oak, vanilla, leather. It is "smooth" in feel - I'm not talking about the undefined, over-used word to describe spirits as "smooth" but actually in the sense that it coats the mouth and seems to linger there nicely with almost a lubricating texture. The tannins are present ever so lightly to further enhance texture. The length is reasonable, but could have been enhanced had this been bottled above 40% - I can only wonder what 46% would have done to this one! 93%

Conclusion: Complex, rich, and subtle - magnificent. This is a whisky that interacts with you - in almost a teasing fashion as you think the twists and turns are over to only discover more and more... the best Canadian whisky I have ever tried. Between the rich dry notes and the balance, it is a fabulous bottling. 98%

Weighting the nose 25%, the taste 35%, the finish 20%, and intrigue 20%, the final score is 96

I don't know if here is anyone who appreciates the older APs more than @paddockjudge. It is almost as if it is his mission to spread the word to the world about this now extremely rare and excellent rye.

I am as thankful as you are for the samples of 25 and 39 that I got to try, and the bottle of 30 that made its way to Toronto.

And my thanks to him for introducing me to great Canadian whisky, and to you for this review.

@JasonHambrey thank you for the review, it reads as simply essential


Alberta Premium 25 years old, distilled at Alberta Distillers Limited, in Calgary, Alberta, was released in about 2007 as a one time special edition. For years I looked for this whisky, asked about it, read about it, and wondered what it would taste like. No one I knew had been able to find a bottle, until recently

Nose: sharp, intense, pointed high and medium pitched flavours of maple, vanilla, and honey, followed by less intense flavours of spice and fruit from rye grain. Beautiful and strong, even at 40% ABV. Among standard Alberta Premium, Alberta Premium 25 yo, and Alberta Premium 30 yo, this is the best nose. A few of the best Canadian whiskies, such as Wiser's Red Letter, have this incredibly penetrating and searingly intense wood influence which just does not let up. This is one of those whiskies

Taste: silky smooth feel in the mouth is accompanied by vivid and delicious pointed flavours translating the nose to the palate. Great whisky

Finish: rather long finish, migrating toward the sweet side with also a little bitterness, but not enough bitterness to ruin the experience

Balance: this is one of the finest Canadian whiskies in existence. It's too bad there is not more of it remaining. I am grateful to have had a sample of it, at last

Compared to most batches of standard Alberta Premium this is more intense and penetrating, has much more wood influence, and is also less sweet. Compared to Alberta Premium 30 yo, the wood flavours are much better here--the 30 yo was left in the wood for 3 or 4 years too long for optimal flavour. Really all of the flavours are stronger and more robust for the 25 yo compared to the Alberta Premium 30 yo

Rated within the Canadian style against a field of Canadian whiskies only, Alberta Premium 25 YO would rate 95 for me

I would agree @Victor, the 25 yo definitely outshone the 30 year old. Doing a side by side of the two is a real demonstration in the benefits of balance within a great whisky. The sweetness did not become cloying, and the wood provided just enough bitterness to add character to, rather than overtake, the profile in the 25. My favourite Canadian whisky that I have been fortunate enough to try. taste. Thank you to the supplier of the sample!!!

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