I saw my first bottle of Alberta Springs in the fall of 1988 when I was gifted a bottle on my birthday. It came in a funky wooden box, and it proudly proclaimed its ‘Alberta’ heritage. It was also, back in those days, a pure 100 % rye whisky. My love for rye whisky was cemented, and for years the Alberta Springs was my favourite whisky. Of course things change over time, and in the early to mid 90s Alberta Distillers Limited (ADL) began to distill some corn as well as rye in the blend. They still blended to the same taste profile, but, when I look back at my whisky preferences, it was a remarkable coincidence that during this period of the brand’s development I fell out of love with the whisky.
Years and years later when I started to write about whisky, one of the perks I received was a private tour of the ADL Distillery where I met Rick Murphy, the Production Superintendent. He explained the heritage of Alberta Springs to me, how it started as a pure rye whisky, and how economics dictated a move to rye and corn in the 90s. But, he also steadfastly maintained the whisky is currently (and has always been) very much a rye based whisky. He then explained how his computerized dials and gauges in the distillery, and his quality assurance tasting panel, ensure that the flavour does not change as the mash bill may change slightly over time. He even made it clear to me that the Alberta Springs is one of his most favourite whiskies. (I think he was trying to tell me that I had better give the brand a second try.)
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“…The initial mouth-feel is slightly dryish as the whisky begins with flavours of dusty rye and light flavours of caramel toffee. The oak is present and brings forward some light orange peel and vanilla as well as hints of tobacco which are not as firm in the flavour as they were in the aroma. I taste a light mustiness and a hint of honey sweetness which never build, they just sit back content to accent the other flavours without trying to steal the show…”
Here is a link to the full review:
I have included a nice sipping recipe which although not entirely original is nevertheless a great way to enjoy the Alberta Premium. It is called the Canadian Whisky Splash.
Please enjoy the review and the recipe that follows!