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Issue 137 - Bulls and Bucking Broncos

Whisky Magazine Issue 137
July 2016


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Bulls and Bucking Broncos

It's rodeo time in Edmonton

Alberta Premium may be the most misunderstood of Canadian whiskies. First, it is one of the few whiskies in the world made entirely from rye grain, but is exclusive to Canada. This breeds envy elsewhere. It certainly is good whisky, however, that envy is misplaced. The character we normally expect from rye has deliberately been distilled out. Second, when a foreign whisky writer bizarrely declared it the best whisky Canada makes, he set connoisseurs up for a disappointment. This is not a dram for Glencairn nosing glasses or rhapsodic tasting notes. This is simple session whisky, best enjoyed from a tin cup by a blazing campfire. When the bottle is finally empty you douse the fire and crawl into your sleeping bag. Small wonder then that Alberta Premium is a favourite on Canada's rodeo circuit.

You've never seen Norm Little at a whisky show, but he may well be Canada's best known whisky ambassador. A former whisky maker himself, Norm now represents Alberta Premium. Where? On the prairie rodeo circuit. Sure, he'll pour you a shot, but you're more likely to find him picking his way through the bucking broncos backstage. He's making certain his protégé, Scott Byrne, is ready to take his turn in the arena.

There's a sequence in the movie Predator with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura. As they battle a jungle militia, someone tells Ventura's character, “You're bleeding, man; you're hit.” He roars back, “I ain't got time to bleed.” I used to think Ventura and S...

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