Alberta Pure Vodka (Glacier Born)
Review: Alberta Pure Vodka (Glacier Born) 85/100
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published June 07, 2015
Alberta Pure Vodka is a brand name owned by Carrington Distillers who appear to be based in Calgary, Alberta. This is a triple distilled grain spirit produced by Alberta Distillers Limited which is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume. It is sold throughout Western Canada and even makes its way into Ontario via the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario).
When I tasted the Alberta Pure Vodka for the first time it was as part of a flight of vodkas my friends (the Rum Chums) and I were sampling at my first Vodka Tasting of 2015. We chilled each Vodka in my deep freeze such that there were all at about 2 degrees Celsius when we sampled them. Each vodka was served individually in a shot glass, and I kept track of what my friends were saying during the tasting.
More recently, I sampled Alberta Pure once more, this time in a flight of more premium vodka spirits which also included Finlandia, Belvedere Unfiltered, and AnestasiA. Again I compiled notes for each Vodka and from those notes (and from my previous notes) I constructed this review.
The First Impression 7.5/10
Alberta Pure arrives in two standard bottle arrangements. The 375 ml and 750 ml bottles are each flask shaped (see recipe section below) while the 1.75 litre bottle (shown to the left) is the standard medium tall bartenders bottle. Although the labeling is attractive, the uninspired bottle drags the presentation score down. Unfortunately when placed on the shelf next to my other vodka spirits this bottle just screams “bottom shelf!” Hopefully this isn’t a book you can judge by the cover.
The First Sip 17/20
In my examinations of the spirit, I first chilled the Alberta Pure Vodka to just above zero degrees Celsius, and then I poured a little into my shot glass (and into the shot glasses of my guests). The spirit was only slightly thickened, and when I raised the glass to my nose I could detect very little aroma. There was a light spiciness, but that was all. The first sip brought forward bits of grain spice and a touch of citrus zest, but again, that was all. When chilled, Alberta Pure is an extremely clean crisp spirit.
I always repeat my examinations with a warmer spirit afterwards to see how the vodka holds up. In the case of the Alberta Pure, I began to notice lemon-like flavours when the spirit reached ten degrees Celsius, and a vaguely vegetal presence at room temperature. At room temperature the spirit also leaves a lightly metallic aftertaste in the mouth, and its spiciness is much more pronounced. There was however very little burn, and the increased spiciness was not a deterrent to my enjoyment. Many spirits break down much more than the Alberta Pure has.
Taking a Shot 17/20
When chilled, the Vodka is very easy to throw down as a shot style spirit. There is no burn at all, and the spicy afterglow is very pleasant. Some rye-like flavours and spice seem to be left over on the palate which again is quite pleasant. The spirit does however, break down to a degree as it warms up. Vegetal flavours creep into the aftertaste, and there is a moderately spicy (light) burn which is apparent at room temperature. I was expecting more breakdown than what I observed, and this relatively inexpensive Vodka is holding up better than some of them more premium Vodkas I have tasted in the past.
Out for Dinner 17/20
At my first Vodka tasting of the year, I served my lightly salty, lightly spicy pepper pot soup, and my friends brought a variety of snacks which included, pepperoni sticks, mozzarella and cheddar cheese chunks, an antipasto platter with olives and pickles, small slices of pepperoni pizza, and light rye bread. It was a good selection of food to sample while tasting vodka. I like my vodka to act as a palate cleanser as I switch between different foods as I eat. To my mind a good vodka when sipped between morsels will clean the palate enabling me to enjoy the flavours of each food more thoroughly.
Alberta Pure Vodka performed just the way a good vodka should. The light spiciness of the spirit between each bite was enjoyable, and the food seemed to taste better when tasted just after a sip of Vodka. None of my guests noticed any strange aftertaste associated with any of the foods nor with the Vodka as they sampled the two together.
Cocktail Hour 26.5/30
At my first Vodka tasting, I served everybody a Vodka Daiquiri with each spirit we sampled. The daiquiri made with Alberta Pure Vodka was noticeably more tart than the other cocktails, which is actually how I prefer my daiquiris to taste. During my second Vodka tasting session with the more premium spirits (in terms of price anyways), I made a Dry Martini with each Vodka served. The dry martini made with Alberta Pure was crisp and clean and for those who like a very dry martini, this experience would be quite satisfactory.
For myself, the Dry Martini was perhaps too dry, and I found a standard Martini (with a larger proportion of vermouth as shown below) was more to my liking.
Vodka Martini (with lime and mint garnish)
2 1/4 oz Alberta Pure Vodka
3/4 oz Vermouth
thin slice of lime peel
Chill a Martini Glass
Add a thin slice of lime peel
Softly bruise the mint between your fingers to express the oil and drop it into the glass as well
Add the vodka and the vermouth into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker are frosted
Double Strain into the chilled martini glass
Of course, you should enjoy responsibly!
If you are interested in more cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more mixed drink recipes!
Final Score 85/100
(A very good overall Vodka, which probably deserves a better bottle presentation)
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Vodka Reviews.
The Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the scores as follows.
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing Vodka. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again for cocktails only.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this Vodka in shots, although cocktails are still preferable.
85-89 Excellent! Shots or cocktails!
90-94 You may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 80 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
81 – 89 Silver Medal (Recommended for shots and mixing cocktails)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly Recommended for Vodka Shots and Sublime Cocktails)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)