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View Full Version : Canadian Rye and American Rye - difference?



Jono
01-23-2009, 13:40
Alberta Premium and 25 yr old are a 100% rye whiskeys...yet they taste nothing like an American Rye....why is this? Is it the barreling? Aging? Rye variety? This is not a blended rye..it states 100% on the label.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberta_Premium

cowdery
01-23-2009, 15:41
Completely different animals, really. Canadian whiskey is like blended scotch. They use some flavorful, rye-based whiskey to flavor a nearly-neutral corn base whiskey. And it's aged in used bourbon barrels. American straight rye is made from a mixed grain mash, typically 51% rye, 39% corn and 10% malt, distilled out at about 140 proof and aged in new barrels.

Alberta may use nothing but rye grain, but they still make some of their whiskey in pot stills at low proof, for flavor, and blend it with a rye-based nearly neutral whiskey. It's still a blend, even though the only grain used is rye.

Jono
01-23-2009, 15:51
Interesting, 100% rye but rye + rye neutral spirit.....I wonder what the ratio is.....I would like to see a Canadian whiskey with a high % rye whiskey ratio. The Alberta is a very nice gentle whiskey....a version with a really full rye spice flavor would be nice to have too.

polyamnesia
01-23-2009, 15:58
how much is the Alberta? i used to think i liked canadian whiskey (as a mixer)....but now, as a neat freak, i am curious.

Jono
01-23-2009, 16:03
If I recall.....about $25-9? Very reasonable.

Jono
01-23-2009, 16:05
Has anyone tried these?

http://www.highwood-distillers.com/highwood.html

Centenial 10, 15 Year Plus Century Reserve, Century Reserve 21

Megawatt
01-23-2009, 17:20
Has anyone tried these?

http://www.highwood-distillers.com/highwood.html

Centenial 10, 15 Year Plus Century Reserve, Century Reserve 21

I've tried the Centennial 10 and Century Reserve 15. Both are very clean, smooth whiskies. Not at all overly sweet like some Canadians. The wood really shows on the 15 because the base spirit is so clean. Decent stuff but just don't try having it after drinking Scotch or bourbon, because it will probably taste like water by comparison.

I read that Alberta Premium blends a double-distilled rye at 190 proof with a single distillation at 130 proof. I have no idea what the ratios are.

Jono, how do you find the Canadian rye compares with its American counterparts? I've never tried an American rye. It's interesting because Americans consider straight rye the "real stuff", whereas it can be composed of 49% non-rye ingredients. I guess the difference is that it must all be distilled below 180 proof (or is it 160?).

Rughi
01-23-2009, 18:58
...It's interesting because Americans consider straight rye the "real stuff", whereas it can be composed of 49% non-rye ingredients. I guess the difference is that it must all be distilled below 180 proof (or is it 160?).

BT's ryes come off the still at 135 proof.
I can't remember the max allowed.

Having all of the distillate coming off at a comparatively congener-rich proof is the big difference.

Incidentally, all the 100% rye straight whiskies Ive had were pretty...rich. But then, they're mostly quite young as well.

Roger

Megawatt
01-23-2009, 19:20
BT's ryes come off the still at 135 proof.
I can't remember the max allowed.

Having all of the distillate coming off at a comparatively congener-rich proof is the big difference.

Incidentally, all the 100% rye straight whiskies Ive had were pretty...rich. But then, they're mostly quite young as well.

Roger

It's also true that most Canadian whiskies commonly referred to as "rye" contain a very small percentage of rye. Alberta Premium and Alberta Springs are two exceptions.

It's funny because Canadian whisky is called rye but very few bottles actually say "rye whisky" on the label. I guess it's just easier to say than "Canadian whisky".

cowdery
01-23-2009, 21:21
You can apply most of what you know about blended scotch to Canadian, except as to the grains used. Alberta is the only Canadian distillery that uses rye exclusively. In most of the rest, rye is just used for flavoring, the base is corn.

Likewise, American straight ryes follow essentially the same rules as bourbon, except for the grains used. They have to distill out at less than 160 proof (although 130-140 is more common), be entered at less than 125 proof, and be aged in new, charred oak.

Jono
01-23-2009, 22:24
Megawatt, they are completely different....American ryes are spicy, peppery, full mouth whiskeys....wheras the Canadian ryes are much lighter, and have a very different taste profile. I just poured shots of Alberta Premium 25 and Rittenhouse BIB. My limited notes are as follows.

AP - light gold color
Ritt - amber

Nose - AP bit of alcohol - slight what I call "formaldehyde or nail polish" that I find in most Canadian whiskeys....Gilman refers to it as "piney"...(could it be the neutral spirit portion?)...and sweetness
Ritt - more like a bourbon ...rich, sweet - honey

Taste AP - light with a smooth round sweet finish plus the "piney notes."
Ritt - immediate liveliness, thicker feel and more complex notes, mild burn
> 100 proof vs AP 80 <

Similar to the difference between a rich lowland Scotch and and Irish whiskey.
Really no comparison other than the rye base...that is what amazes me..they are so different.

Jono
01-23-2009, 22:33
A more nuanced review...I am always amazed at some of the tasting notes...no two are alike...but this may help distinguish them"

Alberta Premium 25
http://www.artofdrink.com/spirits.php?name=Alberta+Premium+Limited+Edition

Label Text
"Whatever you concentrate on dominates: put the taste buds into neutral and you have a wonderful battle, not fought with fists. If you are into chocolate you'll love this. Gently sweet cocoa spreads around the palate, first as a hint then as a full-blown plain chocolate dessert sweetened only by a sprinkling of muscovado." "Very long. Improbably gentle but faultless. Absolutely nothing dominates. Yet every aspect has its moment of conquest and glory. It is neither bitter, nor sweet, yet both. It is neither soft nor hard on the palate, yet both elements are there/ Because of the 100&#37; rye used, this is an entirely new style of whisky to hit the market.'


Rittenhouse BIB
Review from "maxthebear" from another site that is close to my experience.

"Bold and peppery with the brown sugar/molasses noted by others. Again- recently there has been a pleasant orange hint that compliments the overall complexity. It is a drink that reminds you of Fall. The is a pleasant bite that reminds you that you are drinking a higher octane. It holds up to ice well and can be sipped with pleasure - Recommend a splash or two of water to open the surface."