It is refreshing to come across a spirits brand that doesn’t try to sell itself as owning the great (insert country of origin) story or by referring to a family recipe of centuries past. When I drink Alberta Rye Dark Batch, I feel I know what I’m getting, plain and simple.
Alberta Rye Whiskey Dark Batch is a Canadian blended rye whiskey made by Alberta Distillers, LTD (the largest rye producer in North America). Alberta Distillers is the oldest distillery in Western Canada, producing for over 60 years. It is also owned by the fourth largest premium spirits company, Beam Suntory, of Jim Beam Bourbon but also those strange Skinnygirl wine coolers.
The company is quite upfront in its marketing. A clear breakdown of the Alberta Rye Whisky Dark Batch is on the website: 91% rye whiskey, 8% bourbon, and 1% sherry. Specifically: “A blend of 100% rye whisky from Canada, Old Grand Dad Bourbon from Kentucky, and Oloroso sherry from Spain.” The sherry certain comes through in both color and taste.
Dan Tullio, Master Ambassador of Canadian Whisky at Beam Suntory, says that Alberta Rye Whisky Dark Batch is best used in cocktails and, sure enough, this is reflected in the website, which lists numerous cocktail recipes.
“To really get the notes of plums, blackcurrant and sweet oak, it’s best in a cocktail.”
Through and through, the story and use case for this whisky is consistent – this is definitely not a sipping whisky.
Alberta Rye Whisky Dark Batch is 90 proof, 45% alcohol by volume, and retails for about $30 per 750ml bottle.
Tasting Notes: Alberta Rye Dark Batch
Color: Intense mahogany hue, deep red and clear.
Nose: Very sweet. Candy corn and peaches with lingering notes of fresh sawdust.
Palate: Buttery, smooth mouth-feel. Strong heat, spicy pepper notes, lemon and hazelnut that is like a punch in to the tongue. Long finish.
I commend Alberta Rye Whisky Dark Batch and its promoters for being sincere. It packs too much of a punch to drink on its own, but the nose is beautiful, the mouth-feel fantastic, and the whisky is elevated to a whole other level when cut with some lemon juice. Plus, the red hue adds a unique element to any cocktail. This is a great option to keep stocked in your bar.
FINAL SCORE: 86/100
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Natalie is a food & beverage analyst with Watershed Communications in Portland, Oregon. She has been involved with the f&b world for many years, first as a culinary arts columnist with The Harvard Crimson, at numerous start-ups (wine distributor, as well as artisan cheeseboard maker), and now as an ethnographic...