Alberta Distillers is the number one rye producer in North America, making whisky for a number of brands on the market today. But now, Alberta Distillers is releasing its own whiskey: Alberta Dark Batch Rye. And in an industry that’s often secretive about blend percentages, mashbills and age statements, Alberta Dark Batch Rye is refreshingly forthright about the whisky’s makeup. It’s comprised of 91% Canadian rye whisky, 8% bourbon and 1% sherry. Half of the rye is pot-still whisky aged for six years in new, charred white oak barrels, while the other half is column-distilled and aged for 12 years in used bourbon barrels. The 8% bourbon is Old Grand Dad.
It’s an interesting, full-flavored release that doesn’t taste quite like a Canadian rye, nor like a bourbon. But it falls somewhere between the two, and all that with a surprisingly rich sherry accent.
Alberta Dark Batch Rye is bursting with dark fruits, honey, sweet vanilla and dry oak. So far, so good. Take a sip, and things move sweeter, with vanilla, caramel, sherry and raisins. It’s warm and smooth on the palate, and toward the end, things take a decidedly spicier turn, which is a welcome change following the sweet start. It finishes spicy and dry, with lingering notes of fruit and oak.
This is flavorful, easy-drinking whisky with a lot going on. It remains mostly well-balanced between sweet, spice and fruit. The sherry is particularly noticeable, with a character more prominent than what you’d find in a sherry-finished whisky. This new direction for Alberta Distillers, and Canadian whisky in general, is one to watch.
– 45% ABV
CE Rating: ★★★