Review: Alberta Springs Aged 10 Years Canadian Rye Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

10 yrs; ex-bourbon casks
Distiller Alberta (Calgary, Alberta)

This whisky is aged 10 years, with a heavy rye mash – I believe it used to be made from rye entirely but now they also use some other grains from time to time – likely because rye is the most expensive of the common grains used for whisky and grains can be distilled to taste like other grains to an extent anyway. It comes from Alberta Distillery, which, incidentally, is the largest purchaser of rye in Western Canada.

Review (2013)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2013

Nose: The nose on this one always baffles me because it’s quite unique – I get seaweed, vanilla, rubber tires…and a bit of a meaty aroma I find with many Canadian ryes. There is some spice reminding me of the floral component of cloves. As well, I also get some brown sugar and soft rye, with hints of cacao as well. The nose is somewhat oily and buttery.

Taste: There’s a nice underlying sweetness to this, with some nice brown sugar and light honey notes and a touch of corn here and there. The rye does come through in the end, and is quite grassy/fresh – it’s just sharp in its spiciness and feels more like what I expect fresh rye to taste (though I’ve never had it) like rather than dried and crushed grain. There are some of those unique notes of the nose- the seaweed and rubber – but it’s quite light. These notes are more interesting than bad – though at first it took me a little getting used to. There’s a slight bit of engaging acidity which I also find compelling.

Finish: The finish has good feel, a nice amount of sweetness, with a tinge of rye and licorice root. Vanilla is present as well as some oak…and there is a slight bit of tannic drying out the mouth. Some of the grains come out in the finish as well, and a slight bit of black pepper. After some time, some slight bitterness comes through, but it is very light.

Not bad at all – the flavour profile is still interesting to me. The sweetness is just about right for sipping, I think, and this would be a great mixer as well – it has the depth and profile of one that will complement other flavours very nicely. It is quite enjoyable, and though it took me a few drinks to warm up to it, it is certainly good quality and great value.

Value: Average. A 10 year old that isn’t bad for $26! But you can still do better for the price on the lower shelves.