Nothing like being fashionably late to the party, huh?
I should have covered this one a while back now, but alas…circumstances cropped up that prevented that from happening. Namely, that I’m a dunce and in all that was going on missed the release date on this one. I had the whisky in hand…I’d tried it…but I knew I had to keep ‘mum’ until release date. Then…promptly forgot about release date.
Sigh. Apologies to any interested.
Anyway…this is an exciting whisky for me. First and foremost, it is a release from a distillery with a stellar track record. Second, said distillery is based right here in the neighbourhood. Third, this distillery, Alberta Distillers, does not play with innovation for the broader market. This whisky is blazing a brand new trail. My friends at ADL…well done. Not only recognized, but appreciated.
Dark Horse is said to be a mix of 6 and 12 year old rye (100% rye, I might add). Added to this, yes…added…is about 8% bourbon and a bit of sherry for good measure. Now…for our friends not so in the loop with Canadian Whisky regulations who are undoubtedly asking ‘what the fuck?’ right now…well…put simply…Canadian whisky can legally have just over 9% additives to the spirit and still be marketed as Canadian Whisky. Swallow your incredulity and just enjoy.
On the nose: Big, big fruits (dark red jam-like fruits) and cracked pepper. A touch of dill up front that seems a little odd in concept, but actually works quite well (others have said pickles…including a roomful at a recent Canadian Whisky tasting I attended). Oak. This really is a mishmash of rye spiciness and bourbon sweetness. Floral notes collide with vanilla and cinnamon. Sweet and lovely, but somewhat…contrived. Not in a bad way, I just mean that it has a sort of odd unprecedented quality to it that makes me think of some crazy fun time in the blending lab.
Dusty corns and faux fruits hit the palate first, overpowering the grains, woods and spice that follow. Super sweet and kinda waxy. Very bourbon-ish, to be honest. Apple peel on finish. Keeps me reaching for more.
I’m still not 100% (maybe 95%?) won over by this one, as I was with the previous ADL releases, but the odd thing is…the level in my bottle keeps dropping. Let’s blame it on my desire to share and let others try. Sure…that’s it.
And yes…I will be buying another bottle.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt