Alberta Distillers

Booze Review – Alberta Rye Dark Batch Whisky


IMG_0046Once again, G-LO darkened my doorstep (it seems I start a lot of posts with this). Truth be told, I invited G-LO over for a short session. When I queried if it was to be whiskey or beer, he suggested that we do some research. This is his not-so-subtle way of saying that I haven’t shouldered my load and that it was time I got something in the blog queue. He arrived with our homework (two whiskies from our friend, Mark Gillespie) and two new bottles. I see; we’re using a bit of the carrot and the stick approach. This is something new since he usually just goes with the hammer and a gun approach (Sicilians are like that). To make a long story short, it’s my job to write-up the Alberta Rye Whisky Dark Batch

Dark Batch is brought to us by Alberta Distillers. A Calgary-based distiller, Alberta Distillers is the largest producer of 100% rye whisky in North America. With a heritage of nearly 70 years, the distillery, owned by Beam Suntory Inc. since 1988, has produced many award winning products. This whisky is made by blending 12 year old rye and 6 year old small pot rye together. This blend makes up 91% of the whisky. The remaining 9% is comprised of 8% bourbon and 1% sherry.

Before we begin the review, here’s what Beam Suntory has to say about the Alberta Rye Dark Batch:

Alberta Rye Dark Batch Whisky features a blend of 91% rye whisky, 8% bourbon and 1% sherry to add layers of complexity in each bottle. The distinct rich color of the liquid comes from a combination of factors, including the aging process, which incorporates both new charred American white oak and once-used American bourbon barrels. Other contributing factors include the addition of a touch of sherry and Alberta, Canada’s high altitude, desert-like humidity levels and extreme seasonal and daily temperature changes, which promote maturation.

And now for the review…Alberta Rye Whisky Dark Batch

  • Appearance: Deep amber; a bit of a copper color.
  • ABV: 45%
  • Aroma
    • Limpd: Very herbal and floral upfront with a bit of honey and some cocoa nibs at the end. It almost smells almost like a cordial.
    • G-LO: I can’t wrap my head around the aromas. One minute it’s got some grape must and brown sugar. Then, there are some herbal notes. And, then, there are some medicinal type notes coming through. A sweaty Band-Aid perhaps?
  • Taste
    • Limpd: Sweet, buttery with some viscosity and some heat. The taste is far superior to the “whore’s bath” in the nose. There is a lot of vapor on the backend and a pleasant, longish finish.
    • G-LO: Much more cohesive on the palate. Lightly spiced with some chili pepper heat backed by some burnt sugar sweetness. I know it’s mostly rye, but the sherry is having a big effect on the taste, and I really like it. Smooth and mellow finish with a really nice blend of sweet and spicy flavors.

The Verdict

Limpd: While the rye makes up 91% of this whisky (as opposed to the ubiquitous 95% rye that we get out of Indiana), it’s interesting that both the bourbon and the sherry come through in a big, big way. I didn’t love it (I’m just not a huge fan of rye), but I did like it a lot. And given this whisky’s unique distillation process, I’d say it’s certainly worth a try.

G-LO: Although the nose on this one was a bit schizophrenic, the flavors are totally delicious. While at 91%, it’s still mostly rye, but the other 9% makes this a very different kind of whisky. I really enjoyed it, and given its $30 – $35 price tag, I’d say it is well worth buying. Tasty Stuff!

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Many thanks to Mark Gillespie for sharing!

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