Alberta Premium 30 year old Limited Edition Canadian rye whisky

Alberta Premium 30 Year Old Limited Edition®

January 10, 2012


Reader Advisory: This whisky is so voluptuously robust yet delicately delicious that the urge to wax poetic is impossible to resist.

Crisp clean oak and fresh red cedar, ripe fruit, butterscotch, vanilla, grapefruit pith, simmering spices, and dusty rye. A quick explosion of flavour followed by a slow, complex reveal. Rich & Oaky. ★★★★★

Let’s turn the clock back 28 years. It’s Rick Murphy’s first day on the job at Alberta Distillers. Among the many things he sees for the first time that day, he notes a batch of charred white oak barrels filled with 100% rye-grain whisky that has already been maturing for two years in the Calgary warehouse. “One day …” he muses, as keeps returning to those quietly resting barrels for the rest of his career.

But back to the present day. Thirty years is a long time for spirit to spend in a barrel, and given the arid climate of Alberta, the angels who call on distillery warehouses have been quite enthusiastic during their regular visits. Fortunately the dry Alberta air encouraged those angels of the west to take more water than spirit, leaving behind truck-loads of rye-rich flavours which have grown robust and muscular as they matured in a bath of vibrant spice and smoothing toasted oak caramels.

In 2007, Murphy and his staff finally decided it was time to re-gauge the ageing whisky into fewer barrels to keep the levels in the individual casks high for a final four years of maturation. Then, after thirty full years of ageing, with just enough spirit remaining to bottle 700 12-bottle cases of the world’s oldest 100% rye-grain whisky, Murphy determined that bottling time had finally come. And it really has been worth the wait.

When Murphy arrived at the Alberta distillery in 1983, without knowing it he began to write his own chapter in a history that went back to 1946. That’s the year that Max Bell and Frank McMahon decided to build the distillery in a province where an ideal climate for growing rye grain, produced abundant annual crops. It took a couple of years for production to come on line, but since then the plant has produced more 100% unmalted rye-grain whisky than every other distillery in North America combined. Almost all of it is sold exclusively in Canada. Even today, Alberta Distillers remains the largest producer of pure rye whisky and the largest customer for Canadian rye grain in the world.

But can the 30 year old live up to the standard already established by Alberta Premium® 25 year old? Let’s start with the basics.

Although the standard Alberta Premium has no age statement, all the whisky in the bottle is at least five years old. The nose is rich in caramel and typical sweet-and-sour Canadian rye. Hints of flowers and the faintest inkling of spirit confirm both its youth and its rye heritage.

The 25 year old, on the other hand, reveals the clean oaky notes that are the hallmark of well-aged Canadian whisky. The now-sold-out 25-year-old version also exhibits a ripe black fruit element not found in its younger sibling.

Matured for 30 years, the brand new limited edition shows an enormous breadth of nose and a crisp, oaky fruitiness that toddles in with an almost austere elegance.

The palates diverge even more.

The youngster is bright and fresh with oranges, citric zest, grapefruit pith and a panoply of sweet spices, pepper and caramels.

The 25 year old begins with bountiful oaky notes right out front. But these are the exotic woody tones of real Québec Grade C (the tastiest) maple syrup, and nothing like the harsh, drying, unpleasant tannins of over-aged Scotch or Bourbon. Peppers and zingy spices zip across the tongue leaving sweet fruits and hints of caramel behind.

This is super whisky that just keeps getting better because by age 30, the palate simply explodes with flavours. That said, the 30 year old is, surprisingly, no more oaky than the 25. Neither is it as sweet or as fruity. Although both are rich in cedar and spices, the 30 year old is hotter, cleaner and lingers even longer. It also exhibits a pitchiness just hinted at in the 25. Certainly, both are genuine works of great craftsmanship, but the 30, if it is even possible to do so, somehow manages to exceed the 25.

Here now, are the details for Alberta Premium 30 Year Old Limited Edition.

Alberta Premium Canadian rye whisky aged 30 years, 25 years and 5 years

Nose: Crisp clean oak and a surprisingly rich fruitiness waft into the room as soon as the cap is removed. The nose is expansive and ultra complex, with top notes of fresh berries and violets that disappear into ripe purple plums which in turn descend into musty rye. An almost marshmallow-like sweetness smacks up against pencil shavings and dry red cedar, not in collision, but in an intimate dance. Don’t try to tell me carefully managed ageing doesn’t make great whisky. A sweet generic fruitiness comes to life as first ginger, then slowly some cloves, move to the fore. Cereal rye notes of dry straw, porridge, dust, and hints of fresh-water plants, along with passing flashes of liquid shoe polish, medical adhesive tape and tarry carbolic hand cleanser remind us this whisky has been crafted, not made.

Bruichladdich’s Jim McEwan, a well-respected Scotch distiller, swears that whisky should be nosed a full minute for each year of ageing. Bah . . . showmanship. But the gradual evolution of cedar into balsam, butterscotch into maple syrup, and sweet plums into kiwi in the nose of this venerable Alberta Premium tells us he may be right.

Palate: Citric fruits, black vanilla pods, butterscotch, crisp dry timber, a sweet generic fruitiness, musty rye, and brisk refreshing citric pith turn the first sip into quite a mouthful. Then as a peppery heat builds someone rips a saw blade through a pitchy pine plank and individual notes begin to assert themselves. Butterscotch melds into a creamy, full-bodied toffee, while hot white pepper is sweetened with sparkling ginger, and fresh warm sawdust reveals resin and pine pitch. A dry, undefined, almost astringent grapefruit pith is replaced briefly by bitter dark chocolate which itself both buffers and accentuates a feeling of hot spiciness. These are the flavours of long slow ageing in carefully prepared barrels. A rich and robust creaminess deftly counterbalances the delicate fragility of this long-aged whisky. But old whisky often reveals the unexpected; here among the fruits and spices we find motor oil and cold wet slate. My notes say more, but honestly, isn’t that enough?

Finish: Long. Oaky notes linger with cedar, hints of pepper, a slight sweetness, grapefruit pith, hints of kiwi fruit and something reminiscent of shellac.

Empty Glass: Wood shavings – lots of them – along with vanilla, dust, sweet strawberries, lilacs, and charred firewood.

Even with bottling at 40% there was only enough whisky left in those barrels to fill 700 cases so distribution of Alberta Premium 30 Year Old Limited Edition will be restricted to Ontario and Canada’s four western provinces. Release is slated for June 2011 to coincide with Father’s Day. Masters of understatement, both Rick Murphy and Alberta Distillers Director of Operations, Rob Tuer, suggest a whisky this rare should be served neat or on the rocks. As Tuer puts it, “This small batch 30 year old limited edition is an exceptional opportunity for Alberta Premium lovers and whisky connoisseurs to enjoy on a special occasion.”

But honestly folks, if you must mix your whisky, please do buy the standard Alberta Premium and leave the 30 year old for us sippers. Alberta Distillers prides itself on the affordability of its whiskies and this one maintains that time-honoured tradition, a concern for those of us who fear limited availability and low pricing may lead to hoarding. Ahh, the worries of a whisky anorak.

In another nod to tradition, brand managers at Beam Global, which owns the Alberta Distillers plant and the Alberta Premium® brand, have chosen to maintain the classic Alberta Premium bottle for this limited special edition. It’s a warm familiar touch of home for a whisky that is likely the first and last of its kind.

$49.95 in Ontario and across Western Canada. (To be released in time for Father’s Day.)

Very Highly Recommended ★★★★★

Alberta Premium Dark Horse is reviewed here.

Alberta Premium 25 year old is reviewed here.

Alberta Springs 10 year old is reviewed here.

Alberta Premium 30 Year Old video here.


Another Opinion

Now 30-year-old spirits are special. To that end, Chip Dykstra, (spirits reviewer, and founder of The Rum Howler Blog), and I, agreed to publish our reviews of Alberta Premium 30 Year Old Limited Edition on the same day and link to each others reviews to give you, our readers, two perspectives on this spirit rather than one. To make a long story short, politics intervened, and we were unable to meet our mutual obligation to publish simultaneously. However, I am now able to provide you a link to Chip’s review so that you may have a second opinion:

Chip’s Review of Alberta Premium 30 Year Old Limited Edition.


Alberta Premium 30 year old Canadian whisky, 25 year old and 5 year old


135 Responses to “Alberta Premium 30 Year Old Limited Edition®”

  1. John Velocci:

    Hey Davin, is this available in the LCBO? It doesn’t seem to be listed on their site.

    • Davin:

      Hi John,
      The plan is to have it out for Father’s Day, so I’d start checking around the end of May.

  2. [...] treat for your whisky-loving dad – or an any-day treat for your whisky-loving self – consider the new, rare, and very tasty Alberta Premium 30 Year Old. [Canadian [...]

  3. Portwood:

    Great review (as always) Davin.

    Sounds like a buy as soon as it hits the LiCBO shelves!

    I just wish Canadian whisky producers put out more product at higher ABV. IMO, 40% should be left to “standard” mixers. Premium products meant for nosing/sipping should be bottled above 40%. Although a higher ABV would result in less product available for sale, producers could achieve the same revenue by increasing the price. Consumers would then receive the same monetary value but get a better product. For example:
    ~$57 @46% ABV is equivalent to $50 @40% ABV

    Having said that, the price point looks attractive for a 30yo!


    • Davin:

      Thanks Portwood, This is awesome whisky at 40% and in my opinion underpriced, but they seem to deliberately set their prices so the average whisky consumer can afford to buy their whisky. Yeah, I’d like to see more whiskies at higher abvs but I think that will come as Canadian whisky attracts more and more connoisseurs.

  4. The review makes my mouth water….

    • Davin:

      Hi Chip,
      It’s in a class by itself. Let me know when your review is up so I can link to it. Thx.

  5. Darko Vusir:

    Available yet? I don’t see it in my local stores.

    • Davin:

      It should be in the stores for Father’s Day.

      • Darko Vusir:

        Thanks Davin,

        I’m looking forward to getting some.

  6. Mike:

    Wow, I was worried that they would jack the price like some other companies have been doing, but $49.95 is more than reasonable. It really makes you question other distilleries who charge so much more for so much less. I like how they are keeping the same bottle and what appears to be the plastic lid. No pretentiousness at all.

  7. Nabil:

    Put me down for two bottles…I love the distillery simply for their philosophy on pricing. Good whisky should be for all to enjoy!

  8. John Velocci:

    I can’t wait for father’s day.

  9. Piers:

    Want want WANT! Great write-up, can’t wait!

  10. Yello to Mello:

    Giving it a try, I have to!

  11. Rob:

    How does this whiskey compare to Caribou Crossing, Crown Royal Cask16 or Wiser’s Red Letter? Which is you favourite out of this group?

    • Davin:

      Hi Rob,
      Different people have different tastes but I like all of these. For me, I’d buy Red Letter or Alberta Premium 30 year old as soon they will both be gone forever. I have tried both in the past couple of weeks and they are very very tasty. I do like Caribou Crossing and Cask 16 though, and have a bottle of each open.

      • Mike:

        Never one to pick favourites, are you Davin?

        • Davin:

          Hi Mike,
          Different occasions call for different whiskies. For buying, I’d snap up the Alberta Premium because it won’t last long and is really quite amazing whisky. It also is quite inexpensive for what you’re getting. Red Letter is nearly gone, so that is another must-buy if you can find any, but it is not cheap. As far as I know Cask 16 and Caribou Crossing will be around for quite a while. Both are good whiskies too, but my buying priority would be for what will soon disappear. Rather than picking favourites, I prefer to give a a more general indication by using a star system. I taste most of these whiskies blind in flights, and the range of scores varies depending on what else I am tasting at the time.

  12. Piers:

    30 has hit Alberta :D

    I wish Red Letter was the same price ;)

  13. Thomas Chen:


    you are creating quite a storm before this is officially released. I will get a few bottles and taste to compare to your notes. Thank you!


    • Davin:

      Hi Thomas,
      Yes, I am putting my money where my mouth is on this one and plan to stock
      up. It really is very special. Loaded with wood without any bitterness and
      very very complex.

      • Paul:

        Hi thomas,Davin
        If you can find any i’d stockup forsure. after going to about 6 stores in edmonton area my buddy called liquor board office. they said it was very short supply then. my friend bought last 5 bottle in edmonton . the mrs was selling singles for 70$ bottle. we bought the lot for 60$ a bottle . i got 2 on the way and two more sitting in edmonton when i want them…my friends not whisky man really but he’s making AP 30 a weekly tradition until it’s all gone. speaks volumes of it flavor and smoothness.

        • paddockjudge:

          Hi Paul,
          the shelves are bare in Ontario.
          When the combined in-store stock level of APLE30 approached the 100 bottle level, our good friends at LCBO pulled the plug on their INVENTORY POSITION for this item.

          The attractive black carton and affordable price point have made this an easy selection for a stocking stuffer. Hopefully the nice people at Alberta Distillers have something special for us down the road. These recent “gifts” have been gratefully apppreciated. Thank you Rob and the gang in Calgary.


          • Yello to Mello:

            Hi paddock,

            when they pulled the listing, there are still lots in stores and showed them all up in the boonies. I was at the Queens Quay LCBO and they had 7 on the shelf in the back right corner cabinet. I took 1 so they have 6. A manager there knows that its a good product and seems to periodically ask for some from the other stores.

          • paddockjudge:

            Hi Yellow to Mellow, thanks for the heads-up.
            164 bottles on the last inventory posted (two weeks ago) – both warehouses empty.
            Might be a few left on the shelves in the New Year.
            When this is eventually declared “discontinued”, those remaining bottles will be locked-in to their host stores – store transfers are not allowed on discontinued stock.
            Might be a whisky run comimg up.

          • Davin:

            Did my “whisky run” some time ago and am well set for the next few years anyway. It really is very special whisky.

          • paddockjudge:

            LCBO has the APLE30 INVENTORY POSITION available for viewing; only a few dozen bottles remain.

            I’ve added six to my stock from the Orillia store.

            Hurry-up and wait for the next great one. Thank you ADL.

  14. Belinda:

    It’s not available in LCBO stores in Toronto as yet,they still have it as a pending purchase order.Can it be ordered online?

    • Davin:

      Hi Belinda,
      I think it is on its way. As far as I know on-line whisky sales are not permitted in Canada.

  15. Belinda:

    I called LCBO head office today,it won’t be in stores in time for Father’s Day,they said at least another 3 wks -1 month till it’s on the shelves in Toronto,it’s not even priced yet.

    • Davin:

      Hi Belinda,
      Luckily I have tasted it and know it is worth waiting for. A disappointment though if we have to wait past Father’s Day. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

  16. J. Wheelock:

    Hey Davin, great review! We agree – this is a stunner of a whisky and well-deserved of the high praise you have given it.

    • Davin:

      Hi J.
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, it really is one of a kind.

  17. Piers:

    Davin, just a quick note (don’t have personal email on my work blackberry) to let you know we’re good to go

  18. John Velocci:

    Its now listed on the LCBO site at $50, but no inventory yet. We’re getting closer!!

  19. Piers:

    Any luck with the LCBO?

  20. Nabil:


    I forgot whether the AP 25 and the AP 30 are blended or single grains. Do you know anything about this?

    • Davin:

      It is a mingling of various barrels of whisky all made from just rye grain and all produced in a single distillery.

  21. Fenwick:

    I just noticed this story online (–stimmell-wines-you-can-be-proud-to-serve-on-canada-day). At the end of the article, he notes the LCBO, after a release delay, plans to have bottles on shelves by Canada Day.


  22. Gtown John:

    10 Bottles – LCBO in Peterborough….
    LCBO publishing locations on site and removing….

  23. Rob:

    Those 10 bottles in Peterborough flew off the shelf. I noticed them as well. I went to check tonight and they’re all gone. I can’t wait until Friday, I’m going to buy 5 bottles.

  24. Marc:

    Thornhill had 11 bottles yesterday, all gone!!!!!!!

    • Davin:

      This is torture!

  25. John Velocci:

    I just picked up a couple of bottles on my lunch hour. :)

  26. Tom:

    It is finally here in BC, I am wondering how many bottles is considered stocking up. I brought one case!

    • Davin:

      Hi Tom,
      Yeah, I’ll probably end up with a case also, but that’s enough. There’s lots of other good stuff out there too.
      I’m getting reports of people finding it at LCBO now. Not in Ottawa yet, though.

  27. Mark:

    In Vancouver they have it at the Alberni & Bute B.C. Liquor store. I believe that’s the only government liquor store carrying it in the Vancouver proper area. It’s not on the shelves, you have to ask for it at the customer service desk. I grabbed a bottle earlier today and then decided to head back for another after getting that nagging “stock up, stock up” voice in my head. The second time I was told “We don’t have it yet” and I had to explain I had just bought one hours ago before they would even bother locating the box. Just a warning…

  28. Marc:

    bought 2 bottles today in North York at Crossroads Plaza, 24 bottles

  29. Rob:

    Well tonight just before it closed I drove over to North York and all 24 bottles were sold out. This is crazy. I’m so sad right now.

    • Davin:

      Hi Rob, It’s probably just the first wave. There will probably be more. It was the same with Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix, then suddenly it was everywhere. Fingers crossed.

  30. malt87:

    I drove over to Crossroads as well. No luck!

    I’m starting to get frustrated. When will the LCBO roll it out more widely?


    • Davin:

      It can take time for a new product to work its way through the system.

  31. John Velocci:

    I got my 2 bottles from the Crossroads location yesterday. I called them in the morning so they can hold a couple of bottles for me untill I can go and buy them after work but they wouldn’t hold them for me. so I went on my lunch hour. thank god i went. I can’t believe they sold those 24 bottles so quickly.

  32. Yello to Mello:

    I got 1 of those bottles at thornhill on tuesday afternoon. I tried to get some at queens quay and they were wiped. they said they had more cases due in next week.

    i am trying it now….this whisky does deserve its 5 stars.

    • Davin:

      Yeah!! It’s like the Eveready bunny – it just keeps going and going and going . . . . .
      I think I’m going to go pour myself some right now!

    • Davin:

      Thanks YtM, you inspired me. I’m trying it in the Glencairn Canadian whisky glass. It’s really different from my normal “perfect dram.” More caramel, lots of pepper and spice, a hint of some kind of oily fruit, Nice heat on the tongue, creamy and rich. Also some earthy notes, and hard rye. I am tasting less wood in this glass. And in the background there is some black fruit – maybe prunes or something like that. Very, very long finish. Yeah 5 stars at least!

  33. Rob:

    Finally got 3 bottles tonight. Had to drive to Brampton (Steeles and 410) Got my brother a bottle as well so 4 actually. I can’t wait to try it.

  34. Ben:

    Hi Davin,

    I’m from Singapore and needless to say these whiskeys hardly get here (I’ve seen the occasional Canadian club and one Glen Breton Ice Wine barrel finished Whiskey). I’m seriously interested in getting a bottle of this Alberta Premium as part of my collection of whiskeys to share with my mates when they get over.

    Is there any importer from Canada who ships overseas to this region, or any regional importer for Alberta Premium?


    • Davin:

      Hi Ben,
      This really is great whisky so I don’t blame you for wanting to track down a bottle. It is a quirk of Canadian law that mail order sales of liquor are not allowed and I think you will have a very difficult time getting it shipped to you from Canada. The whisky was released in only five of our ten provinces and none of our territories. Quantities are very small (700 cases total). Unless you know someone who is traveling to Singapore from Canada I think it will be very difficult for you to buy a bottle. Sorry I could not be more positive about this.

  35. Tom 2:

    I did not hear about this release but I spotted it at my local BC Liquor Store last week (High Gate Burnaby) I like the regular Premium and thought $49.95 for a 30 YO – I gotta get this! The cashier rang up my purchase (a dozen beer & the 30 YO) and asked for $53.95! I said – stupidly – “but the whisky itself is almost 50 bucks”. She said “the computer says it’s 25.95, maybe it’s on sale – you better take it.” With that I said thank you very much, signed for my purchase and RAN for the exit.
    Unfortunately I’ve been on-call for work during the week so I haven’t been able to try it yet. So I’ve gone on-line to see how it’s being received – can’t wait. Two more sleeps then I get to try my $25 bottle of 30 year old Canadian whisky! Thank you BCLB computers!

    • Davin:

      Hi Tom,
      At $50.00 it’s a steal. At $25 it’s a gift. I’m sure once you have tasted it you’ll agree. It still has not arrived at LCBO in Ottawa (or anywhere within a 2-hour drive).

  36. Mike:

    I got two bottles yesterday and I’m just getting into it now. Right away I noticed that the aroma is spicier than the 25 year old (comparing from memory). I would say the palate entry is less supple and more aggressive than the 25. This might even call for an ice cube.

    There is a funky, musty flavour mid-palate that I’m not sure I like. It comes on strong and then fades before the finish. Seems an attribute of the wood to me. The finish on this is, of course, very long, sweet and full.

    Quick comparison to Canadian Club Reserve (10 years). Well, it is really no comparison. The Alberta Premium displays dark chocolate and banana bread on the nose, whereas the CC10 has just a light hint of butter toffee and alcohol. CC10 shows up better on the palate, smooth and sweet, but still very crisp and spirity. With AP30 you get a much thicker mouthful followed by a ton of clean oak and then that warm funky flavour that I can’t quite place.

    Later I’ll compare AP30 to Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve, which has risen in my esteem to one of my favourite whiskies. For the moment, I would not rate the 30 year old as highly as the 25 year old version.

  37. Belinda:

    I just wanted to let you know that I finally located 2 bottles of the 30 year old for my boyfriend and he was sooo
    happy!!!. To anyone in Toronto who is looking for it, your best bet is to check the LCBO website enter the product number #253609 and it will tell you what stores have it, then call the store( as I did )and check what they actually have in stock before going in.

  38. james:

    Is there ANYWHERE you can get this in the US?

    I’m tempted to quit my job and drive north…. just wish I could.

    • Davin:

      Hi James,
      Officially, no. It was only distributed in Canada. I heard of a bar owner in the U.S. driving to Canada and taking a few cases back with him. I am sure a lot of individuals who live close to the border have done the same.

  39. Marc:

    Hi James,
    Where are you located in the US? I live in Toronto but my wife is from Cleveland. We travel into the US often to visit friends and relaives. I could bring you a few bottles if you’d like. Maybe meet someplace on the way.

  40. Yello to Mello:

    I bought my 4 extra bottles a few days back. Probably wont get anymore unless I finish my opened one and there are still some locally available so I dont need to dip into my stash so soon. As Davin mentioned this is an outstanding whisky but there are still other good Canadian whiskies out there and others great ones will be released so no need to go that crazy….hahaha!

  41. Darko Vusir:

    Finally got mine. Will be trying it tonight.

  42. Rob:

    They just posted on the LCBO website an Ottawa store with 60 bottles of AP 30

  43. [...] was the 40 Creek Confederation Oak (one of a very few whiskeys done with Canadian Oak), but the Alberta Premium 30 year-old was probably the darling of the night — my second choice, but first for many of the people [...]

  44. sam k:

    At $50, this seems like a steal for anyone lucky enough to get hold of one. 30 years and 100% rye…nice!

  45. Tom:

    AP30 is selling fast in BC, in less than a month over 600 bottles are sold. I checked with the BCLB if they will be getting more AP30 in the near future. However, the answer is no more coming to BC. I just wonder whether the full 700 case are sold! I just couldn’t resist to brought two more bottles…

  46. Tim N:

    Interesting market on this one.
    I live in Edmonton and bought two bottles in early June. I was assured by a local merchant that he could get several more cases as demand required – a couple weeks later no one in town had any left. I finally found a merchant who managed to get several more cases from the liqour rep. These were immediately priced at a significantly higher price than the original release and I’m yet to find anyone else with stock since the initial sell out.

    Davin – are you still optimistic of a second release?

    ps am looking fwd to your thoughts on Tangle Ridge

    • Davin:

      I am not sure if they will be releasing more. What I do know is that they emptied the barrels and bottled all of it, so once it is gone, it is gone.
      I had heard of American bars buying large amounts from the Alberta allocation when it first came out.
      There is still lots available here in Ontario.

      Tangle Ridge is an odd one. I had dinner with a critic from Wine Spectator last spring and he just couldn’t say enough good about it. He was very, very impressed.
      I’ll be writing a review eventually, but there is a big backlog of new releases and other work in front of me right now.

      • Tim:

        Sounds good – cheers.

  47. Basil:

    In my opinion, this is the very best pure Rye Whisky ever bottled. The reality that it takes an American firm, but at least no less than the venerable Jim Beam to produce this magnificent expression of Alberta but even more importantly Western Canadian whisky is at once both depressing but ultimately gratifying.

    Response: Yes Jim Beam bought Alberta Distillers in one of those mystifying mergers/acquisitions, that accountants and lawyers live and die for, but production decisions are left to local management in Calgary. Alberta Premium 30 year old was distilled long before Beam came into the picture. Beam is there in name only. Beam also owns Canadian Club, and again, they leave production decisions to Canadians

    This is no 90% grain spirit, carmel color, flavorings and a smidgen of real aged spirit as is the greatest majority of the rest of the swill that passes for Canadian Whisky. The traitors in Ottawa ensured that the once great Canadian Whisky tradition was reduced to pure brown vodka when they caved in to their Eastern Masters many years ago. The rules governing Canadian whisky today are embarrassing at the least.

    Response: This myth is quite difficult to dispel. Canadian whisky does not contain grain “spirit,” it is all aged whisky. American blends can contain unaged spirit, but Canadian whisky cannot. This confuses many people. The so-called “flavourings” you speak of are generally well-aged, high-voltage rye whisky or Canadian-made bourbon.

    I salute the good men at Beam, who understanding both tradition and good whisky making have preserved and continued the tradition of true Canadian Rye Whisky. In addition, although pure rye whisky is both very difficult and expensive to produce, they have kept the price affordable for the average man, and also reward their customers with these wonderful gifts for their loyalty at a ridiculously low price.

    The sniveling over the packaging from various reviewers is merely the pompous drivel of pure dandies, who should confine themselves to the european expressions and leave the genuine Alberta whisky to the real working men who tend to know much more about good whisky and drinking it after a long hard day. Further, these are the men who truly appreciate the thoughtfulness of Beam and the hard work of their fellow compatriots at ADL.

    Barley is for beer and feed. Corn, rye and small amounts of malted barley make the finest American Bourbon. Pure rye and rye malt ( Straight Rye Whisky) is the best Alberta Whisky and there is no doubt that Alberta Premium 30 year old is the very best ever bottled.

    Response: Agreed, it’s pretty good stuff.

    Kentucky and Tennessee are the heartland of real North American Whisky. ADL is the king of rye and this links Alberta with the good men of Kentucky and Tennessee in the triple crown of North American Whisky tradition.

    Response: No, North America may be one continent but there is not a “North American” style of whisky. Canada is the heartland of real Canadian whisky. The whisky made in Kentucky and Tennessee is American whisky.

    The many expensive Scotch’s I regretfully sampled and wasted far too much money on, over many years before I learned that the very best whisky is made in North America, all came in fancy tubes with equally fancy prices and even more fanciful names. WIthout a used bourbon barrel to age it in, it would not even rate with the meanest Irish whisky, which at least does not rely on the flavors of North American whisky to gain its flavor.

    Response: Actually, used barrels contribute rather complex wood flavours that are masked by the strong primary flavours of new charred oak.

    Alberta Premium 30 year old can stand equally on the very top shelf with all the other select and rare North American Whiskies from Kentucky and Tennessee. All other whisky is at best second shelf.

    Response: As a big fan of bourbon and American rye whisky I have to say Alberta Premium 30 year old is quite a different drink altogether, although certainly a very high quality one. This is an “apples and oranges” comparison.

    Tasting Notes:

    Tastes like the very best straight rye whisky ever bottled on the planet.

  48. Hi Can you get this in Houston I have to bring a case back with me every time I go to Canada

    • Davin:

      Sorry Boyd, There’s not enough to be able to export it, so it’s available in Canada only.

  49. Basil:

    I appreciate and respect both your responses and your positions.

    If a company places the word “whisky” or “whiskey” on the label then it is all comparable on the basis that the product is “whisky”. I completely understand the idea of “style” but refuse to buy into political definitions inserted into trade treaties by bureaucrats, politicians and profit mad corpocrats.

    Virtually any distilled spirit thrown into a barrel and aged 3 years can be called Canadian whisky. The word “character” inserted into the Canadian whisky treaty is a joke considering Glen Breton Rare, whose “character” and “style” is obviously Scottish. It is a fine product if you like that sort of thing but the claim “North America’s 1st Single Malt Whisky” is foolish considering Alberta Premium is also a single malt of rye.

    Response: No, it must be distilled from a fermented mash of grain to be matured into Canadian whisky.

    Yes, Canadian Club, Black Velvet, Forty Creek, Century Reserve, Wiser’s, Alberta Premium, and MOST Canadian whiskies are like single malts in that they are the product of a single distillery. Nevertheless, Alberta Premium is not a “malt” as there is no malted rye in the mash – not even one grain. I know some people claim they can somehow “Taste” malted rye in Alberta Premium. However, if they do it is because they don’t really know what malted rye tastes like.

    As you are aware Canadian Whisky can even be called “rye whisky” even if it is made 90 % from corn and contains no rye. Yes it is very embarrassing indeed. Also, the “myth” goes directly into the barrel for the “3 year” aging 24 hours a day. The “flavorings” are not always or exclusively other “aged whisky” at all. I was referring to the making not the blending. An industrial column still operating to produce 99% ethanol (no tails or any water vapor) from corn can and does make it into the barrel of many Canadian whiskies, that magically transform into rye whisky when they hit the shelf. This is truly the depressing state of the Canadian whisky industry. The profits however remain high though the American market for Canadian whisky is diminishing and quality is obviously an issue.

    Response: Canadian rye whisky has a history of nearly 200 years. From the beginning, rye has been a flavour. The percentage of rye grain was never an issue until the middle of the 20th century when a bunch of bureaucrats decided to define American whisky using percentages. This definition does not apply to Canadian whisky, which, if it tastes like rye, is rye – REAL rye whisky. Imagine if bureaucrats in another country said chocolate cake had to be 51% chocolate. Would we suddenly change the name of that wonderful confection that we grew up calling “chocolate cake?”.

    95% alcohol is the theoretical limit of a column still without adding chemicals that would make the alcohol undrinkable. And because alcohol is hygroscopic it would very quickly draw water out of the air to reduce it down below 95% in any case. Whatever, it is closer to 70% when it goes into the barrel.

    Both the men of Canada and the US laid down the traditions of their whisky making many years ago, and within North America there are many “styles”. The same can be said of Scotland where Islay, Highland, Lowland, Speyside etc etc etc are all “Scotch” The comparison of Islay to Highland is far more apples and oranges than Alberta Premium to Rittenhouse, Potero, Beam, Highwest or even Bulleit rye.

    The very best of North American whisky expressions, or whisky made in the New world vs the Old World are fine bourbons in my opinion. However in the “rye” whisky world, Alberta Premium 30 year old is the very best of the best and ADL can stand in equal rank with the finest whisky makers in North America and for that matter the entire world.

    Our forebears rejected the European styles in favor of their own expressions and for what it is worth I believe they not only matched the European craft but far exceeded it. Shipping out hundreds of millions, possibly billions of dollars and jobs to Europe based upon the “myth” of the superiority of “Scotch” demonstrates the effectiveness of the Scotch marketing departments but certainly not the quality of the product.

    I realize that I am digressing off the topic, but after reading many reviews posted by whisky fans and “experts”. I cannot help but stand up to defend our traditions, jobs and economy against those who are easily convinced by slick marketing undertaken by foreign governments and NGOs.

    In my opinion, North America grows the finest grain, has some of the most pristine water (Scottish lake water vs limestone springs and mountain rivers?????) remaining on the planet, and makes the very best whisky money can buy. There is no confusion in the rest of the world when it comes to grain, beef and water. There should be no confusion when it comes to whisky as well.

    I do appreciate your fine work and find your reviews most reliable. I admit that I find the idea of the whisky world adopting the foppery of the wine industry in describing “tastings” disconcerting as well as terms such as “a fine pour” in borrowing from the cigar world “a fine smoke” almost nauseating. However there is a limited whisky vocabulary in which to describe or differentiate products. I am confident that writers such as yourself will contribute greatly to the future of a distinct vocabulary for the whisky world.

    Alberta beef, grain, water and ADL rye whisky are world class and stands on the pinnacle of global quality with our American brothers, who share with us common markets, common culture and allied interests especially in these hard times. Canada does produce some other very fine whisky products which are finely crafted. Highwood as well as some of the small start ups are trying very hard to resurrect the idea of real Canadian whisky.

    With all of that off my chest, AP 30 year old is squirreled away, comfortably nestled among my stores of absolutely heavenly North American whiskies and appears quite at home. Fortunately I have successfully divested myself from virtually all my european expressions and feel very satisfied I am both directing my dollars to our common markets and jobs in North America and am enjoying some of the very best whisky available on the planet earth.


    I do not work in the liquor trade, beef trade, water trade or grain trade, or tobacco industry nor do I usually comment on any websites.This is the very first time I have ever posted on a liquor forum.

    • Davin:

      Thanks Basil. I have inserted a couple of clarifications/comments into your comment. I appreciate where you are coming from. Davin

  50. Robert Jordan:

    I just picked up a bottle the other week, would have gotten it sooner but alot of the stores were sold out in Edmonton for a while it seems. I’m only a couple sips in to it, but it is a very good whisky. Can’t wait to have more.

  51. Nick:

    The 30 Year Old is an excellent whisky, but I have to say that in my opinion the 25 Year Old is far superior. My memory (I drank all that I purchased.)is that it was the best whisky (And I mean scotch, bourbon, Tennessee and Canadian.) I have ever enjoyed!

  52. James:

    Looking for a store in Vancouver or area that sells it still, if anyone knows please let me know

  53. Dan:

    I bought 12 bottles of 30-yo Alberta Premium yesterday (Sudbury ON). I tasted it beside one of my remaining bottles of 25yo.

    I love the 25; until yesterday I considered it the finest Canadian whisky ever made. The 30 has lost none of the 25′s juicy rye flavour, but with the added complexity and refinement, it is the new king.

    This came along just in time, I’m down to two bottles of 25yo. Hopefully when the supply of 30yo is exhausted some other pure rye whisky will be ready.

    • Davin:

      Hi Dan,
      Yes, I am with you on that. From what I hear there are some great whiskies sitting in warehouses but it will be a few years until they are ready. I also bought a case of the 30 year old so I am glad to see I am not the only one.

    • paddockjudge:

      Hi Dan,

      so it was you that cleaned out the downtown store.
      Good move.

  54. Paul:

    can some one from edmonton please advise of a store that still has this on the shelf. i have a friend searching so faR NOTHING.

  55. Paul:

    I just recieved word yesterday. that my friend in edmonton managed to track down 5 bottles at beverly crest. mrs was selling them for 79$ if he bought all 5 @50$. by the time he got there he only got his hands on 2 . he will be sending these two bottle to the rock for me to enjoy at some point. he eventually had to call head office in calagary and they search between alberta ands sask. this stuff is going the way of the dinasours forsure. adding to it’s value all the time. i look forward to getting mine soon.

  56. Paul:

    Just got my mail confimation number my 2 bottle of alberta premium are enroute to NFLD. my buddy bought all 5 after he tried his first sip . said it’s one of the smootest he’s ever tasted. cheers davin.

    • Davin:

      Good for you. I assure you, you won’t be disappointed.

  57. Paul:

    Well my first bottle arrived yesterday. i waiting to savor it after a long day putting on base boards and door casings and the wifes job x-mas dinner.. came crack the bottle to let it breath.. immediately i was taken back to the dusty taverns of fort mac and everywhere in between edmonton and fort mac bon accord gibbons and alike… if you grew up in alberta this rye was and is a main stay of the locals. where you order a rye and coke not a whiskey.
    how ever i did not spoil this elder of the rye family. i simple added some chilled water let it sit and breath then continually sipped while watching the hockey game… it was very very smooth. plenty of oak and berries just a slight hint of vanilla with a warm glow/burn on the pallet.
    was worth the wait and transport cost to get this alberta jewel sent from the province of my youth..
    i will enjoy my bottle everytime i want to take a trip back to dusty taverns country music and of course those beautiful alberta cow girls with tight jeans , long hair and cowboy hats… thanks for the exp Davin.

    • Davin:

      Dusty taverns! How descriptive. Great, isn’t it?

  58. Paul:

    Well i put a dent into my first bottle last night. it’s just so easy to drink. i find each drink i taste a little more and flavors become more pronounced. i have a friend who travels across the country on regular basis i’ll be asking her to keep an eye out for it.
    “dusty old taverns” yes.
    this 30 yr old pure rye whiskey is on par with the very best whiskey any where and at any looking forward to the next in the series i wonder will it be 40 or 45yr? i would love to see it at 40 personal preference rather than a 35.merry x-mas all.

    • Davin:

      Yes, We thought we were in heaven when the 25 year old came out then this one comes along. Isn’t it great the way it can stay so long in wood, absorb so much flavour from the wood but not become “woody?” I also love the way the flavours develop in the glass and the way it changes as you hold it in your mouth.

  59. Chris Brown:

    For anyone in the Edmonton area or going through Edmonton International Airport: the liquor store (A Flight of Wine and Spirits) in the domestic terminal area (past security) has at least 6 bottles of the 30 on their shelves as of Jan 4. It sells for $60 which is not too bad considering how much they mark up their stock (Crown XR is $200 -compared to about $150 or so in town) .
    They are also associated with Liquor Outlet on 109th St so there may be stock there as well….

  60. John Velocci:

    I finished a bottle of this during the holidays. Its definitely good, but I’m not crazy about it like I am about Wiser’s Legacy. I have another bottle of AP30 and I think i’m going to trade it in for something else. maybe another bottle of Wiser’s Legacy or the new Forty Creek bottle, depending on how much I like it (i still haven’t cracked it open).

    • Frédéric:

      Hi, I’m looking for one bottle of this Alberta premium 30 years old. Does anyone want to trade one? :-)

  61. DallasRN:

    Greetings from the states…

    Being down south in Texas (USA); we do enjoy a fine whisky from time to time and have recently heard about the Alberta Premium 30. A close family friend told me of this whisky but unfortunately his bottle was damaged and broken. It is my hope to replace it for an upcoming special event.

    My contacts with Beam and local liquor stores in Alberta have been unsuccessful in locating a bottle this far out from release.

    IF anyone has any leads on finding a bottle in the Alberta province, please share.

    Ahead of time, thanks for any assistance and best wishes to all.

  62. Dylan:

    Does anyone know if there’s anywhere I can still buy a bottle? I’m dying to get my hands on one.

    • Davin:


      As far as i know this was pretty much sold out by last Christmas. I know people are still looking for bottles but I think there is little chance of finding one except on e-Bay.

  63. Brian:

    I just thought I’d let everybody know that there should be 1 unit of this great stuff left at the Lynden Road LCBO in Brantford. I was there today and the boxes looked beat up, so I’m assuming that the employees found em in the back long after the rest were gone. There should be 1 left! Check to see if the LCBO count updates overnight!

    • Davin:

      Thanks Brian!

  64. Garry:

    Alberta Springs 10 year old has long been a favorite. Found Century 21 year old, and it edged out the Alberta Springs. But this Alberta Premium 30 year old has completely changed my opinion on how good a whiskey can be. I have had 4 bottles and my friend Dan got 2. Only 1 and a third of one left. I am so pissed that I couldn’t afford to buy the last 4 on the shelf when I had the chance (someone else came in a couple of days later and did buy the last 4 – lucky person). I am on a mission to try and find some more.

    I did get a bottle of the Stampede 25 year old – no comparision.

  65. volmers:

    Living in Denmark, Europe – how can I get a bottle or more of Alberta Premium Rye 25yr or 30yr?
    Up until now I have tried for over 10 years.

    • Davin:

      Hi, It is very doubtful you will find a bottle. Both of these are completely sold out. The new Alberta Premium Dark Horse is your best bet. You will have to find someone in Canada to help you as it is not available outside the country and we do not do mail order in Canada.

    • Jesper:

      Har du været så heldig at få fingrene i sådan en flaske endnu?

      • Davin:


  66. marie:

    my husband had alberta springs sipping whiskey several years ago and was interested in buying some more to take with us to texas to have our texas friends try it. but in our local l.c.b.o. doesn’t seem to stock it and it not sure if it is still being distilled. could you please let me know if i can buy a bottle or two. best product on the market. we always buy several bottles to get us through the winter months. thanks

    • Davin:

      More than 350 LCBO stores stock Alberta Springs. If yours doesn’t have it, try another or ask them to order it. Good luck, it’s great whisky.

  67. Jamie:

    Hi Guys and Gals,

    I am looking for a bottle of this whisky. I bought my father a single bottle and never did pick one up for myself as I wasn’t into collecting them at that time. As Alberta Premium is one of my two favorite brands I would really love to get my hands on even a single bottle of this. If you have one or know of someone who does I am in southwestern Ontario and am willing to drive to meet you. Please let me know!

    • Tom:

      I am willing to sell one bottle AP 30 yrs but I live in Vancouver and what is your willing budget to pay for this world oldest rye whisky?

      • George:

        Are you still looking to sell a bottle? I am interested if you still have it and are willing to sell it.

        • Tom:

          Are you still interested to buy AP 30 yrs, my asking price is Cdn$150.00 Let me know, thank you.

          • Trev:


            I would be interested in the AP30 at $150 CDN.. Alternatively, I have plenty of American (bourbon/rye) trade options too. Let me know if you still have this available.

          • Tom:

            Yes, I still have AP30 yrs for $150.00. Let me know if you are still interested. Thanks.

          • Trev:

            Yes, still interested! Why don’t you shoot me a note and we can work out details. Thanks!

          • Trev:

            email is

  68. john:

    would love to acquire a bottle f the 10 yr old , i am in colorado can anyone help me find a seller thankyou

  69. Jason Hambrey:

    hi Davin,

    do you happen do know if A.P. has any other limited edition batches up its sleeve in the near future? I barely missed out on this one and the 25 y.o…

    • Davin:

      Rumours abound but I have no concrete word.

      • Dylan:

        I talked to a sales rep for Alberta Distillers back in the summer of 2012 and he said they still had some ‘fluid’ left for further aging – made it sound like there could be a 35 (which would be weird) or maybe some very very old aging one day down the line. Either case it’s great to hear they didn’t use it all up!

      • i really hope for a 40yo and a good pricing point.

        And over 40% ABV. And non-chill filtered. And a good bottle. And no caramel. And before Christmas.

  70. I HAD 2 CASES OF EACH, AND HAVE TRIED THEM SIDE BY SIDE TWICE. Still, I can not give a winner; the smokey nosee on the 25 is fantastic, but the 30 counter-balances things with the velvet palate. 2 thumbs up to both. (*btw, do you blame me for stocking up CAD whiskies at these prices ? a Scotch at these age will costs you a week – or 2 – of wages ! )

  71. Dan Bleier:

    Can this be procured in the US? I’m a big fan of Scotch and Irish whiskies, and just heard a grand review of your product.

    • Davin:

      Sorry this was a Canada-only release and is now completely sold out.

  72. Paul:

    Have you heard anything on Alberta premium coming out with a 35 or a 40 yr? i can’t wait this time i’m ordering a case.

  73. [...] Alberta Premium 30 Year Old Limited Edition® – Great review (as always) Davin. Sounds like a buy as soon as it hits the LiCBO shelves! I just wish Canadian whisky producers put out more product at higher ABV…. [...]

  74. [...] of $200, but a 30 year, 80 proof bottling of Alberta Premium, which is what we assume to be the same exact whiskey sold for $49.99. The fact that all of these Jefferson’s ryes, as well as the WhistlePig are sold in the [...]

  75. Rob:

    Have an unopened bottle of this. Getting rid of it email if interested.

    • Peter:

      Hello Rob,

      Are you located in Ontario?

    • Trev:

      Rob, do you still have this available? I am interested in purchasing it. Please email me with your price

  76. Peter:

    I am interested in purchasing a bottle of AP 25 OR 30.

    Would have to be in Ontario, preferably in Southern Ontario.

  77. Darrin Boyd:

    I would like a bottle of this or the 25 year old

  78. Peter:

    Well, it took 6 years but I finally was able to trade for an AP 30.

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