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Some time ago, I wrote a very short review of Alberta Premium (one of the first that I wrote here), and only scored it a 75. If I wrote it now, it would probably be in the high-80s, low-90s. But here I have a chance to write a proper review of another Alberta offering, one I poured for my office this afternoon to celebrate our upcoming Canada Day.
Alberta Distillery was founded in 1946 in Calgary - with great water and far-reaching prairies, it was the perfect place to make 100% rye whisky. In fact, it is one of the few distilleries in Canada that makes 100% rye (most of the others are mixtures of corn, rye and barley - despite the usual label of "rye" that all Canadian whisky shares). Since 1987 it has been owned by Jim Beam.
The 30 Year Old is a very limited bottling - right now there only 2 bottles in Ontario, both in the Brantford LCBO (if you wanted to race out there and get one for Canada Day!) Aged in charred oak casks for 26 years, then decanted and casked again for another 4 years, only 700 cases were released. It is the oldest rye whisky in the world, and certainly one of the rarest.
In the glass, a light coppery colour (being a Canadian whisky, I've no doubt it has been coloured and chill filtered). On the nose, zingy rye, caramel, oak, dry hay, and cooked apples. Even at only 40%, water brings out more caramel and improves the nose. Very nice mix of rye and sweetness.
In the mouth there is lots of oaky caramel - sweet and delicious! Some banana notes in the back. The rough rye character is there as well, which nicely balances it out. Slightly oily mouthfeel which is improved by a little water.
The finish is very dry, as befits the rye, and a little rougher than you would expect. Not as smooth as it should be. A lovely whisky with a lot of character, but it doesn't quite reach the level of the Canadian Club 20 Year Old - and there is even something about the standard Alberta Premium that is missing here. Still, it is a nice way to kick off a weekend where I will be sampling a few Canadian whiskies!