Alberta Premium Dark Horse Launch at Turf Lounge

Alberta Premium Dark Horse
On October 3rd, ScotchBlog was invited to celebrate Alberta Premium's launch of their new Dark Horse whisky. The location for the event was the appropriately selected off-track wagering restaurant Turf Lounge in downtown Toronto. Mingling with the crowd after arriving, we were treated to cocktails of Alberta Premium with fruit juice and orange bitters. A seemingly unending parade of hors d'oeuvres followed, and a waiter was even so kind as to make an extra cocktail for one of our members who felt that one just wasn't enough. We also had a few minutes prior to the tasting to have a brief chat with our tasting guide for the evening as well as author, Davin de Kergommeaux. Davin has recently released a book titled Canadian Whisky: The Portable Expert which provides a detailed, authoritative, and well-written resource on all things Canadian Whisky.

Once seated, we had the opportunity to sample the standard Alberta Premium expression quickly followed by the star of the evening: Dark Horse. Visually, the Dark Horse is extremely interesting: A dark brown with a reddish hue. This sparked a discussion as to whether colouring had been added. While we didn't find out the answer to that specific question, we did find out that an extremely small percentage of the make-up of this whisky is actual sherry, allowed due to a little-known regulation that permits Canadian whisky to have up to 9.09% of its content composed of non-whisky additives. There is also a small amount of bourbon-style corn whisky added, but the bulk of this heavy hitting drink is rye - a staggering 91% rye in fact. While it's rare to see a Canadian Whisky with a rye content that high, it also gives the taster a unique insight into the rich, bold flavours that the grain can impart.
The nose of the Dark Horse is full of berries, cherries, pepper and spice. It's only after careful analysis that one can pick up the more classic Canadian whisky notes of maple and vanilla. On the palate this thick, luxurious liquid provides layers of fresh baked pastry and peppery spices along with undertones of maple and dried fruit. Thanks to the high rye content the finish is exceedingly long and mouth coating. A lovely wisp of maple syrup remains, temping you to take another sip.

Following the tasting proper, we were treated to a full three course meal specially designed by head Chef Michael Kirkwood. Each course was paired with unique cocktails, all integrating Alberta Premium Dark Horse. The first course consisted of whisky roast beets with chilli and vanilla panna cotta, with a gooseberry compote and walnuts. Paired with a sweet Dark Horse cocktail of lemon-ginger juice and pineapple, this was a sweeter first course than we were used to, but fantastic nonetheless.

The main course was a lightly smoked Alberta beef tenderloin with autumn squash, wild mushrooms and a maple whisky jus. The steak was almost rare, perfect in my books. Another sweet cocktail pairing of Dark Horse with maple spiced syrup and walnut bitters. This cocktail had a beautiful aroma and expertly brought out the best characters of the whisky. Again this was a very sweet cocktail which had almost a taste of birthday cake icing on the finish.

Ending the meal was a freshly prepared chocolate bar with a Dark Horse anglaise with coffee bubbles. After all the sweet items previously served, this was a touch over the top and had a taste closer to that of a factory produced Hostess product. Aside from the slight miss on the dessert, overall a fantastic and wonderfully seasonal meal.

The Dark Horse is now on the LCBO shelves, and is a must buy for everyone from those who enjoy pounding rye, to the single malt connoisseur. In fact, priced at an astonishingly low $30, I can't think of anyone who I wouldn't recommend this whisky to. Many thanks to Praxis PR and Beam Global for providing this wonderful opportunity to sample the Alberta Premium Dark Horse Whisky.


I can't wait to try this! Hopefully they will be pouring it at WhiskyLive on Friday...

I keep going back to this.

It really is tasty stuff!

Dark Horse also works wonderfully in Egg Nog with a dash of cinnamon across the top.

Season's Greetings!

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