I tasted my first bottle of Alberta Springs in the fall of 1988 when I was gifted a bottle on my birthday. It came in a cool wooden box, and it proudly proclaimed its ‘Alberta’ heritage. It was also, I believe, 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.
Twenty some years later when I began 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 10 Year Old pure rye whisky, and how economics dictated a move to rye as well as corn in the 90s.
But, he also steadfastly maintained the whisky is currently (and has always been) a predominantly rye based whisky with a consistent taste profile. He also 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. Rick Murphy also made it very clear to me during the tour, that of all the whiskies he makes at ADL, Alberta Springs is his favourite.
I think it can be safely said that my judging panel agrees with Rick Murphy that Alberta Springs is a great whisky, as the Alberta Spring has arrived in my Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown in the Number 4 position.
Here is a link to my latest review:
“… The initial nose from the glass is of a spicy rye which carries scents of tobacco along for the ride. There is a nice presence of oak and a touch of vanilla but the spicy rye is dominant. As the whisky decants the tobacco gains a little steam and a ripe sweet and sour fruitiness is evolving from the rye which is also filling the air with scents of ginger and cardamom …
Whenever I relax in the evening with a glass Alberta Springs Whisky and a well placed ice-cube with just a splash of ginger-ale, I must admit this particular whisky is hard to beat.
Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here: The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies