“A Little Bit of America, a Little Bit of Alberta”
Hansen Distillery to release a very, very, very limited-edition whiskey this Saturday — it's not expected to last the day
By Steven Sandor | April 20, 2023
Bottles of Hansen Distillery’s newest whiskey release will go on sale Saturday morning. Don’t plan for any bottles to be available Saturday night.
On Tuesday, media and guests were given a sneak preview (and taste, of course) of the Old #7 Barrel whiskey, which will be released this weekend at the distillery.
Hansen currently has three-year-old and five-year-old whiskies on offer. What makes this Old #7 Barrel so special?
There are a few things: It was aged in a single barrel that came to the distillery from Lynchburg, Tenn., the home of Jack Daniel’s. Once all the whiskey from that barrel is bottled and sold, it’s gone. There are plans to make more, but this release is about as limited-edition as you can find.
Hansen’s previous whiskey releases have all been ryes; the Old #7 is made with 51 per cent corn, which officially makes it a bourbon-style whiskey. (We can’t call it a bourbon, because there’s rules and all that, and to be a “bourbon,” the whiskey has to be produced in the United States — just like “Scotch” must come from Scotland.)
“The #7, to me, was me stepping outside of the box and going my way,” says Kris Sustrik, Hansen’s master distiller. “I like bourbon so much that I wanted to do a little bit of it and a little bit of rye. This is a little bit of America, a little bit of Alberta.
“I feel like I’ve gone from being just old regular guy Kris making whiskey in the back, to the point where people are starting to recognize me. It’s like, oh crap, I may be going somewhere with this. I am making a stand and making the effort for this little whiskey community in Alberta.”
But how does it taste? There’s a pronounced salted caramel flavour, and, as the sips progress, it moves to saltwater taffy. Don’t expect a big blast of ethanol; the burn isn’t there.
This weekend, the whiskey community is also gathering to celebrate Drams for Fams, and Hansen is one of eight distillers that’s participating in events and tastings that raise money for charity. The Hansen event is sold out, but Drams for Fams has already raised more than $100,000 for the food bank.
And, this summer, look out for the release of Dark Cloud Whisky, which sees Hansen partner with master blender Sean Kincaid (who has the “Dark Cloud” nickname, and hosts tastings and writes reviews under that moniker). As both Kincaid and Sustrik are dog lovers, that release will see money go to the Alberta Homeward Hound Rescue Bureau.