Alberta Rye Whisky "Dark Batch"

From Bourbon Scout contributor Mike B:

Alberta Rye Whisky “Dark Batch”
Alberta Distillers (Beam Suntory)
$29, Richmond, VA ABC
90 proof

On the high prairies of western Canada’s Alberta province, the oldest and largest Rye whisk[e]y producer in Canada blends two distinct Rye whiskeys (91%) with Old Granddad Bourbon (8%) and Oloroso Sherry (1%).

Color: Watered down KIWI cordovan shoe polish or perhaps a great-northwest version of Cabot’s semi-transparent deck stain.

Nose: It’s not oaky; the first scent of this highly aromatic rye is menthol. While not minty like a pack of Kools, imagine a bunch of maple baseball bats covered in pine tar that have been left standing in a bucket of solvent.

Tasting Notes: This is a decent rye despite the way I describe the nose. It is uniquely spicy alongside the subtle sherry sweetness. It has a thin mouthfeel and the underlying start to finish experience is that of “SOLVENT.” I believe that the rye barrels were spent; the char is not emphasized enough.

Overall: C+. Master distiller Dan Tullio must figure he’s already getting enough color from elsewhere. I just read that the consensus is that there is so much expanding and contracting of the barrel staves due to the weather extremes in Alberta that the aging (more like weathering) is accelerated and you are getting more for your money by buying western Canadian. Sounds like the same beneficial sloshing effects of booking a worldwide cruise for your barrels of booze.

From the start, I thought this rye was meant for cocktails…especially those bolstered by more body and sweetness. One big hit from my bar, The Tiki Hideaway, came to mind that would be perfect for this:

The Happy Buddha

It was tweaked several times before the bartenders and I chose Wild Turkey 101 Rye as the right profile to go against the fruit. Once we went with a powerful Rye, it was on its way to becoming our number one cocktail, tied with the all around favorite “Painkiller” which used Pusser’s rum.

So here I offer my double secret probation Happy Buddha recipe for any unused, unloved rye you may have lying around or the next excuse to go buy some:


Rye Whiskey       1.5 oz.
Cointreau             .25
Guava Juice         4 oz.
Lime Cordial       .5

Shake all ingredients in crushed ice and pour entirety into double old fashioned glass.

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