Most times when you hear 100% rye from a non-craft distiller, you’re looking at Alberta Premium rye – and in this case, Jefferson’s is also sourced from there. So, despite how American the bottle looks, the liquid is in fact Canadian. The whisky was introduced a few years ago, and is another independent bottling of Alberta rye, like Whistlepig and Masterson’s – also all 10 year old Alberta bottlings. Between rye maturing relatively quickly and the rye craze, older ryes are in short supply in many places – Canada has some of the best stocks of this which has lead to more and more bottlings of Canadian rye even from other producers. However, a lot of that good Canadian rye is harder to access and often locked into blending cheaper whiskies. This whisky is aged 10 years, made of 100% unmalted rye and, in line with straight rye, matured in new charred oak.
Nose: Cherries, a bit of dried apricot, milk chocolate, candle wax, orange juice, mint, vanilla, root beer, and beautiful oak. Marvelous stuff, buffeted in the background by rich grain. Slightly herbal and medicinal, but much less so than Whistlepig, Masterson’s, or a number of other high rye whiskies. The nose is very nice with no off-notes, and it is creamy and balanced. The oak, also, is nicely dry. 27.5/30 (92%)
Taste: Rich rye and oak integrated together, with light arugula and vanilla before being taken over by vanilla-laden fresh cut oak which leads right into the finish. Dark cacao, dried fruits, and cherries in the mix as well….the tannins are nicely balanced here – not too much, yet quite present. 27/30 (90%)
Finish: Oak first – the wood and the char, then herbal notes, then some nice grain in the mix as well. Good flavour on the finish, but the length is slightly lacking. 17.5/20 (87%)
Conclusion: I don’t think my favorite rendition of Alberta rye, but one of them. I do favour Masterson’s, largely because of more intrigue and the unbelievable nose, but this one is definitely the easiest to casually drink and mixes high drinkability with great complexity as well. I take this over Whistlepig, which is also great – but I do favour oak in Jefferson’s over the stronger herbal notes…this is a very nice rye whisky. 18.5/20 (93%)