Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye Kicks Ass
…in that it kicks your ass WHILE kicking ass. Simply put, Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye Whisky is not for the faint of heart or of palate, but for those willing to power through — DAMN.
We’ll get to the review in a second, but I first want to tip my cap to Alberta Premium, who over the past decade have gone from a bottom-shelf staple for the hard-up rye drinker, to a creative, artsy distillery offering up-market products (long time readers may recall my absolute devotion to the late AP Dark Horse Rye). Bravo.
While I’m tipping caps, shoutout to my good friend Karin, who nabbed me my first bottle of the Alberta Premium Cask Strength. Anyone remember the absolute fever-pitch reached when Jim Murray named Crown Royal’s Northern Harvest Rye “World Whisky of the Year” in 2016? Well he bestowed the same honour on Alberta Premium in 2020, and this bottle was MIGHTY hard to come by for the next couple years.
Now, it’s in most liquor stores, especially around the holidays when a big ‘ole cask strength whisky seems to be the only thing able to stave off the chill. Looking to take a tipple? Brace yourself — here’s what I thought.
Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye Review
The original AP Cask Strength towered over tongues at a ridiculous 65.1% abv. By the time I nabbed a bottle it was a paltry 63.5%. But given the heat, punch, slap, kick, collar-grabbing-head-shaking, get-a-hold-of-yourself-man intensity of this rye, I’m actually surprised anyone actually survived the original dram. Certainly Jim Murray must have had a very long day indeed before ranking his world whiskies.
Alberta Premium Cask Strength pours a viscous amber — perhaps a shade or two lighter than you’d assume. And what’s to say about the nose of this cask-strength colossus? The fumes are intense and refuse to disperse. If you don’t mind risking a nostril or two, you can waft some strong notes of dried fruit, cedar wood, and caramel.
Ok, you sufficiently braced? Take a sip, and feel what’s tantamount to real, genuine heat. The alcohol does its thing, tingling your tonsils, and heating your chest till you feel you might catch flame. Then the rye spice starts, huge notes of black pepper, and that undercurrent of dried stone fruit. The heat in my throat hadn’t even begun to disperse, but I was ready for a second sip almost immediately. The finish is a touch alcoholy, but you get used to it quickly and I found after the scorched-earth campaign of the first sip, the finish transformed into a sweet, lingering butterscotch.
So here’s the part where I tell you I’m a huge cask-strength nerd. I love the heat, I love the bite, I love undiluted whisky. Will you? While I can’t say conclusively, if you’re looking to find out, you could hardly find a better place to start than the Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye — undoubtedly a whisky you’re gonna want to sip extra slow.