Alberta Rye Dark Batch

Featured at World Whisky Day 2017: Loved or hated, flavored whiskies have been on the market for quite some time in various guises. This particular dram is pretty unique. In Canada, it is called Dark Horse but a conflict of trade names in the US means the version we picked up goes by Dark Batch. Made by the largest rye whisky producer in North America, it is a 50-50 blend of two Canadian ryes, aged 6 and 12 years. This rye blend makes up 91% of the total. Another 8% is Old Grandad bourbon, with the last 1% Oloroso sherry. Yes, not ex-bourbon or ex-sherry casks for finishing, but actual bourbon and sherry. This whisky is so unlike anything we’ve ever tasted, we simply had to try it for ourselves. Of note, the majority of its marketing promotes it primarily for cocktails.

Distillery: Alberta Distillers
Region: Foreign
Age: NAS
Strength: 45%
Price: $31.99
Location: Calgary, Canada
Maturation: Ex-bourbon
Nose: Sherry, bourbon, dried berries, cherry licorice, cinnamon, rose, smoke
Palate: Cinnamon, fruit, rye, vanilla
Finish: Cherry, rye

Comments: Water not needed. Definitely worth saving a bit to try in cocktails, however!

Adam – I’m not sure what inspired this distillery to make such a Frankenstein monster of a whisky, but the addition of the bourbon and a dash of sherry really help add complexity and depth to the rye. What I love about this whisky is how unapologetic it is. No hiding behind hints of this or subtleties of maturation, the notes are big and bold for the most part and I love the dominant rye character. It’s unique, in a good way. Even better, it is priced to be accessible, which adds an additional charm to this dashing gentleman’s set.

Jenny – Cherry, rose and smoke on the nose. Because the blend of all the flavors, the hint of rose, the hint of cherry and the smoke, it’s this great blend of sweetness, spice, makes me think of sitting around a fire. 

Meghan – It take the best part of bourbon highlighted by a touch of sherry and all the deliciousness of rye.

Michael –  The addition of the bourbon and the sherry adds layers and a richness that I often find lacking in a rye. I like ryes but don’t typically find them terribly complex. I would like to revisit this in the winter.