Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye Batch 2 (2020) Review

Wow. I’m impressed. Batch 2 arrives with all the character and bombast of Batch 1, but much less misogynistic endorsement and rabid demand. Color this kid happy.

The fever pitch that arose following Jim Murray’s award left legions of folks hunting for bottles that seemed to disappear almost overnight. If rumors are to be believed, a parcel of what remained was bundled up and sent to the eastern reaches of this far-flung land, while an additional boatload was shipped overseas to sate one of the Asian markets. It makes sense to spread the wealth a bit. And as a Canuck, it makes me happy to see good Canadian whisky finding some well-deserved appreciation abroad.

And I think we’ve gotta hand it to Alberta Distillers: their ability to maintain consistency is second to none. While I’m certain this batch will again be much too small to meet demand, I’m optimistic that ADL has finally seen the light and realized they have the golden goose here in their Calgary distillery. I’m confident we’ll see this expression becomes a permanent addition to the Alberta Premium range. Goes to show it’s never too late to make a push for the front of the pack.

By the way…this one was all Black Current Halls Cough Drops to me, and sure enough, the packaging references black currents. One of the few times I’ve enthusiastically agreed with a brand’s published notes.

66.0% abv. Number of bottles? No clue. But certainly too few.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Blueberry n’ brambleberry. Black Current Halls Cough Drops. Raisin cookies, and all the requisite spices you’d expect (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc). Clean, sinus-clearing notes of fresh-cut pine or spruce; kinda like a stroll through the lumberyard. Chocolate covered cherries. A bit of caramel. A squeeze of lemon. French vanilla ice cream.

Palate: More dark berries here again. Reminds me of the berries I always pick while walking the footpaths on Islay (yes, I know, we’re getting a bit esoteric here). Tight, tight spicy rye. Eucalyptus. Clove and cinnamon. Pine sap. Chocolate. More currents. Grass (a mate of mine says maybe a black tea).

Finish: Long and oaky. Herbal and grassy. Quite oily.

Thoughts: Finish may drag it down a tick, but still a stellar sip. This is what rye should be. Makes me question even further the misstep that was the 20 year old from last year.

89/100

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