Single malt whisky - tasting notes

13 May 2013

Alberta Premium Dark Horse

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in * World

Here’s part two of the weekly Twitter tasting that is held around Canadian whisky. This week our host Davin De Kergommeaux talked about the era of Hiram Walker, J.P. Wiser and Alberta Distillers before moving to the tasting sample. Remember you can join in on our discussions (although without the book at hand it may not be totally clear to follow), still two Sundays to go from 21:00 – 22:00 Western-European time.

Alberta Premium Dark Horse (a brand owned by Beam Inc.) is a mix of 12-year-old rye whisky and 6-year-old small pot rye, with an 8% dollop of well-aged corn whisky added to flesh out the body. Also, they’ve added some actual sherry wine to the blend (instead of using sherry casks for maturation). The whisky is aged in heavily charred American white oak barrels, and is bottled at 45% alc/vol. It’s a recent whisky, presented in 2012.


Alberta Premium Dark HorseAlberta Premium Dark Horse (45%, OB)

Nose: overall much sweeter and way more rounded than last week’s Lot No.40, a tad more bourbonny. Vanilla and caramel. Cinnamon. Cedar bark. Also a clear bicycle tube / plastic-like aroma. Some leafy / floral hints. Wet limestone. Hints of dusty rye. Mouth: very sweet again, creamy, with a maple / corn sweetness, candied oranges and a ginger / nutmeg spice mix. Some liquorice and herbal notes. Dried figs. A bit of a cough syrup profile, but the sweetness balances this out. Soft mint towards the finish. Finish: medium long, with a lingering prune sweetness, mint and pine wood.

As Davin said at the end of the tasting: “The beauty of rye in a master’s hands is many different profiles”. Well said. Contrary to Lot No. 40’s harsh profile, this is a nicely balanced rye, with all of the positive rye elements in there, and the possible downsides masked by an overwhelming sweetness. I was unable to find it in common European stores, but it’s around $30 in Canada. Excellent price vs. quality.

Score: 86/100

Alberta Premium Dark Horse 3.5 Ruben Luyten 2013-05-13
  • Rob Sveen

    Having tasted this for the first time in Tasmania Australia I wonder if this is the taste of things to come for Canadian rye whiskeys. Order of Merit and Crown Royal have an stable mate.

  • Maritimer

    This is an excellent “flask” whisky. Great to nip on or pour a bit into a glass of coke. It travels well.

  • Henry V.

    A clear bike tube/plastic taste? I don’t get that, just got a bottle and can’t taste the plastic nor bike tube, maybe I drank too much of it? Rest of taste notes seem pretty accurate! My rating: 88!

  • WhiskyNotes

    It’s an aroma I picked up on the nose, not a flavour you should taste. I’ve seen other people mention rubbery notes, dust, wet cement… all in the same family of aromas I think.

    As with any whisky, there can be batch variation in which some characteristics are slightly more / less prominent. I can’t double check this – it’s not available here in Europe.

  • tracker_jacker

    My first impression is that it’s too harsh.
    I’m a huge Alberta Premium fan that was recently disappointed with Wiser’s Deluxe 18 year whiskey (could have been a poor batch but it is what it is and I won’t buy their product again; it comes down to quality and profitability).

    I totally agree with David’s synopsis – I drink it neat and chilled.

  • Newfie

    Worst “whiskey” ever…. I found it to have more of the flavours you’d come to expect from a decent rum then a whiskey.

    as both a Jack Daniels and a wisers deluxe fan this was overly disappointing.

  • Kuipe

    This one hit with unexpected sherry fury – and not a pleasant one. Most whisky improves in the drinking, and this one did as well but only to a degree. Sherry as an additive intrudes, sherry locked in the staves of an olorosso barrell imparts a richness that takes nothing away from the grain. I truly wanted to taste this great rye distiller’s new premium offering and taste the new blend. Can’t really get around the sherry, it’s unbalanced to me. I feel a little fooled – they way the sherry darkens the spirit – dies it also suggest a longer maturation? I save this bottle for curious guests.



November 2015
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Coming up

  • Lindores 2015 festival bottling
  • Amrut 2009 (cask #2701)
  • Glenlivet 1981 (#9468 for TWE)
  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Laphroaig 32 Year Old
  • Glen Grant 65yo 1950 cask #2747 for Wealth Solutions
  • Mortlach 1959/1960 (G&M Royal Wedding)

1931 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.