Thanks to /u/devoz for sharing this dram with me.
Alberta is currently a hot topic in Canada. There’s some history there which I won’t be getting into. I won’t be opening that particular can of worms here.
That said, it is the origin and part of the name of the whisky I’ll be reviewing today, Alberta Premium Cask Strength.
I’m always a bit conflicted when it comes to Alberta Premium. They make rye, but it’s through a column still a lot of the time and a good amount of the flavour is pulled out. They can make some nice barrels of whisky, some interesting ones in Canada, but those get sold off across the US or don’t do well enough in our market. I love what they did with Dark Horse, but it’s been delisted now to make room for more profitable parts.
I guess what I’m saying is I’m annoyed at capitalism enough for what it forces a company like Alberta Premium to do. However every so often they give something to the fans. This year we got a cask strength version.
But how does it taste? Is it worth my whinging? Let’s see, shall we?
Price: $64.95 CAD
Cask type: Charred Oak
Colour: 10YR 7/8
Nose: Vanilla, caramel, spice-heavy peach pie, rye spices
Nice strong vanilla, some caramel… I like this. It’s not going to that maple, super sweet level like Canadian whisky, more a sweeter American level. I guess that sucks if you aren’t a sweets fan.
Tons of butter, and a bunch of spices. The spice really does take over. It’s almost like they left in some of the key flavours of the grain this time. Thank goodness.
Taste: Peach, cinnamon, play-doh, peanut, green grapes
Yeah, we all discussed the play-doh note over and over. I don’t know, it’s just something sitting there, but the inner 5-year-old in me is totally happy with it. Maybe my next whisky can have some paste notes to really round out those days of Kindergarten.
Joking aside this is a strongly flavoured dram. Each note is distinct and right there, in your face. Which usually you only get if you’re a doctor in Alberta and you disagree with a leader’s wife’s Facebook post.
Finish: Cereal, papaya, turnip, dill, oak
The finish is a bit raw compared to the taste and nose. That said the tropical note is quite nice, and the dill aspect really punches up. I’d say the turnip is there to distract you from some of the raw elements, like running a candidate to be a jerk in a political race.
Conclusion: Spice. More spice. And rocket fuel. This is a barn-burning strong dram. There’s nothing subtle, nothing quiet, nothing hiding anywhere. Big, bold flavours that punch you in the face quite hard.
I gotta say I like this side of Canadian whisky. Gone are the cereal driven, subtle, maple-enwrapped notes compared to a strong, caramel/sweet peach-pie dram, I’ll take peach-pie. Heck, I haven’t had something this nice since the first cask strength Lot 40 (official release). Good. Let’s have more of these. This is what we want.
World Whisky review #389, Canada review #128, Whisky Network review #1885