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Alberta Premium Dark Horse

Big-time fruit

0 682

@MegawattReview by @Megawatt

1st Oct 2012

0

  • Nose
    22
  • Taste
    21
  • Finish
    18
  • Balance
    21
  • Overall
    82

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

This new expression from Alberta Premium competes with Crown Royal Black in the higher-proof, extra-coloured Canadian whisky category. The label states that it uses some small pot-distilled rye in the blend, and charred oak casks for aging.

Nosed from the bottle, it almost smells like a bourbon with those sweet cherry notes. In the Glencairn glass, sampled immediately after drinking Forty Creek, it is so fruity that it reminds me of cognac. Yet there is still that flinty, metallic edge to it that reminds you it is Alberta Premium. Overall, a rich and expressive nose that is quite un-Canadian.

It is incredibly silky and smooth in the mouth, with only a mild burn. The initial flavours are fruity and even a tad minty, reminding me of sherried Scotch, interestingly. Very nice and easy-drinking. However after a moment a sour flavour develops and throws things off somewhat. Once the sourness fades the finish is light and fruity with a touch of oak.

Overall this is a very pleasant whisky that goes down a little too easily. Reminds me rather of a mix of CC Sherry Cask and regular Alberta Premium, perhaps with some bourbon or Kentucky rye thrown in. Would be near perfect if not for that but of sourness in the finish.

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6 comments

@Victor
Victor commented

You did not state whether this is, like the other Alberta Distillers Limited products, from 100% rye mash. I am surmising that it is, since you did not address the subject and likened it to other ADL products. Are the charred barrels new? If so, of course it would remind a person somewhat of bourbon. "Bourbon-like", for those to whom bourbon is a 'foreign' whisky, usually just means you can taste the fresh new wood. That 'un-Canadian' taste, is probably just from some new wood exposure. (with Forty Creek's recent new wood use as the Canadian exception.) Or were there other flavours that (also) may have tasted 'un-Canadian' to you?

The fruity flavour part you mentioned is interesting to me. You CAN get fruity flavours (and mint flavours) from rye grain, but with Canadian whisky and its additives you never know quite where the sweet fruity flavours come from.

I love an unusually dry batch of Alberta Premium whisky, but the average batch tastes to me like the sweetness is not from the wood nor the fruitiness from the rye, but rather both fruitiness and sweetness are from additives. I will be very happy if I ever succeed in getting again a very dry batch bottle of standard Alberta Premium, as was was my first 750 ml of it. It may never happen.

7 years ago 0

@Megawatt
Megawatt commented

Word on the street is that while this is mostly rye, there is some corn whisky and a small amount of sherry in the blend. I've never had the sense of additives in regular Alberta Premium bottlings, as I find them very straightforward in their delivery, but the sherry influence is quite obvious here.

7 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

This is a subject upon which I feel very strongly, and I will endeavor to express myself with as much moderation as I can summon.

To me the average bottle of Alberta Premium tastes like it has both sherry and caramel in it, which is to say, the fruitiness doesn't taste like it comes naturally from rye, nor the sweetness taste like it comes naturally from wood.

I've also had 750 ml of Alberta Preumium, my first, and reviewed bottle of it, that was light years drier and less fruit-pimped than the average batch. I just loved that bottle, and would love to one day have 4 or 5 more like it in my cabinet, if I can ever find any like it again. That one tasted like it had not been debased by putzing around with a lot of additives to sweeten and 'fruitify' it.

Alberta Distillers Limited (Beam Brands Global, no less!) is no stranger to sherrying up rye whisky. Tangle Ridge is like "Death by Sherry". You can't friggin' taste any rye whisky for the sherry. For cocktail drinkers this sort of thing is no big deal, but to be taken seriously as straight whisky? Not for me.

7 years ago 0

@Bravado
Bravado commented

Going to chime in with some knowledge from Davin de Kergommeaux: "Last night, in discussions with the brand team I learned that Dark Horse is 91% rye-grain whisky, between 8 and 8.5% bourbon and between 0.5 and 1.0% sherry. "

This whisky demonstrates pretty clearly how powerful a flavouring agent sherry can be. If this is 1%, I'm amazed at how much of it I can taste over the rye and corn whisky, which is the vast majority.

Source: canadianwhisky.org/reviews/…

7 years ago 0

@Bravado
Bravado commented

If there's anything I like from this Dark Horse bottling, it's the promise of a bit of better branding for the Alberta Premium line. The regular bottle is a fantastic rye whisky with an unbelievably dated look and bad image among most customers. Hopefully Alberta Premium (Beam Global) can start to look a bit more modern and sell more of their spicy rye.

This Dark Horse 'dessert whisky' (as I'll call it) has its place in the rapidly changing Canadian Whisky world. I expect a lot more flavoured bottlings coming from traditional distilleries in the future.

7 years ago 0

@Megawatt
Megawatt commented

I had the chance to compare regular Alberta Premium and Dark Horse last night. To me, Dark Horse is superior in every way. The standard blend tasted sort of astringent and watered down after drinking Dark Horse.

7 years ago 0

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