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This Cask-Strength Canadian Rye Packs a Punch—But Its Still Subtle Enough to Sip

It can hold its own with the burliest of high-proof bourbons.

Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye Alberta Premium

American distilleries are always trying to outdo each other by releasing higher and higher proof whiskeys that are drawn straight from the barrel, uncut and unfiltered (or at least minimally so). But our more polite neighbor to the north has shown that it, too, can produce some high-octane whisky, with the third release of Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye just hitting stores.

This cask-strength 100-percent rye whisky first was released in 2020, and made quite an impression on whisky fans at the time, not to mention winning a number of awards. Alberta Premium is made at Alberta Distillers in Calgary, and is currently the number one selling rye whisky in the world, besting even the most popular American brands. Canadian rye is quite different from American rye, as we’ve covered here before, and while Canada is perhaps best known for its blended whiskies Alberta Premium is made from a 100 percent rye mash bill.

The core expression from the Alberta Premium brand is bottled at the minimum 40 percent ABV, but the cask strength version is much higher, although it varies from year to year. The 2022 release clocks in at 63.5 percent, which for reference is comparable to a Booker’s Bourbon release—strong, but not so strong that you can’t sip it, or even use in a cocktail. The whisky is pot distilled and aged in new oak barrels. “Our cask strength release has continued to capture the attention of whisky enthusiasts globally and is something we’re delighted to bring back this year,” said George Teichroeb, Alberta Distillers GM, in a press release. “For distillers like myself, cask strength whiskies are where we get to demonstrate our skill and craftsmanship, as the final product is completely unadulterated. This liquid is a product of that craftsmanship and our ongoing commitment to delivering world-class 100 percent rye whisky.”

So if you’ve conquered Frey Ranch’s Hazmat Bourbon and Jack Daniel’s Coy Hill and somehow escaped unscathed, give this a try as well to see how it compares. The whisky will be available in select markets beginning this month ($79.99), and you can still find past releases for sale online.

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