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  1. #11
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    Re: Alberta Springs Dark Horse 45% ABV

    Based on what I've read here and on Davin's site, it seems to be three whiskies blended with some sherry. The three are a 12 year old whisky, surely all-rye and perhaps containing a small amount of pot still blended in at birth but otherwise likely distilled at a high proof, a 6 year old pot still all-rye whisky aged in new charred wood - perhaps this is similar to, say Masterson's, except 4 years younger - and some bourbon, probably brought in from Kentucky.

    The pot still element, and the bourbon too since it is similar to that in flavour intensity (not flavour type), are quite noticeable in the whiskey, but I'd say mostly the 6 year old pot still rye is because there is a good top-note of slate, earth and other flavours associated with that type of whisky. Perhaps this 6 year old "straight" Canadian rye is typical of straight rye made in house at Canadian distilleries, if so I'd think you will want often to blend it because it is potent stuff! So this is probably why it is "cut" with a well-aged standard blend and the bourbon and the wine, but that's just my deductions and guesstimating of course. If that 6 year old rye will age into, as I believe, the very good WhistlePig and Masteron's type of palate, then clearly there is no need to blend it but that whisky is at least 10 years old. Canadian whisky typically is 3-6 years old, with some well-known exceptions of course which go all the way up to 30.

    In other words, I would think most Canadian pot still rye, or rye made in a column still but distilled out to a low proof, aged to about 6 years, has a very prominent palate which in the past is deemed best used as a flavouring whisky as we call it. 6 year old U.S. rye , or that neighborhood of age, certainly is sold on its own in the States but it may be noted the market is relatively small. Also, not all Canadian distillers invariably use new charred oak to age their flavouring whisky in, which would make it even stronger in taste, think e.g. of Anchor Distilling's rye that is aged in re-used barrels.

    I think this whisky does withal represent a rare "inside look" at Canadian rye flavouring whisky. I would doubt that 6 year old pot still rye would find much of a sale on its own, but maybe I'm wrong...

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 12-03-2012 at 07:02.

  2. #12
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    Re: Alberta Springs Dark Horse 45% ABV

    "...three whiskies blended with some sherry..."

    Can it legally be called a whisky/ie if wine is blended into it?
    Would it not become a "spirit" or "liqueur"?

  3. #13
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    Re: Alberta Springs Dark Horse 45% ABV

    Canadian whiskey can contain ~9% non whiskey by law.
    My name is Joel Goodson. I deal in human fulfillment.
    I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night. Time of your life, huh kid?

  4. #14
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    Re: Alberta Springs Dark Horse 45% ABV

    Here are the actual current rules as I understand them: Since July 1, 2009 the 9.090% limit does not apply to Canadian whisky sold in Canada.

    You can add, theoretically, any amount of any domestic or foreign wine or spirit to Canadian whisky provided the bottle contains at least 40% ABV and the spirit is at least 2 years old.

    Actually, there were before July 1, 2009, and still are, two references to 9.090% in Canadian whisky regulations. Under changes to the law that took effect from that date, both references are now contained in a regulation passed under the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food Act, a law under the aegis of the Federal Minister of Agriculture.

    Before July 1, 2009, for any whisky sold in Canada, if more than 9.090% of the absolute alcohol derived from “flavouring”, i.e., from any added domestic or foreign spirit or wine, the whisky was deemed to have the age of the youngest element in the blend. If the mentioned percentage threshold was not exceeded, the whiskey could be stated at the age of the whisky to which the flavouring was added. Say 10% or more of the alcohol (the ethyl alcohol itself) in a bottle of Canadian whisky was derived from bourbon 8 years old, and it was added to Canadian whisky that was 10 years old. The resultant blend had to be labeled 8 years old. If the same bourbon was added but with the result that only 9% of the alcohol came from that source, the blend could be identified as 10 years old. The rule, therefore, was age expression-related, it did not prohibit as such adding more than 9.090% flavouring to Canadian whisky whether by the measure of absolute alcohol or otherwise. But we must recall another rule that states that Canadian whisky must have the taste, aroma and character generally attributed to Canadian whisky. Setting aside for a moment what that means in practice, this was and is a control on adding too much flavouring.

    The other reference to 9.090% in the Canadian whisky regulations stated (before JUly 1, 2009) that not more than that percentage of “imported spirits” (here referring to the original drink, water and all, as I read it) could be contained in Canadian whisky exported from Canada in bond unless Canadian excise authorities, i) stated that percentage in a certificate, and ii) did not refer to the product as Canadian whisky, rye whisky or Canadian rye whisky in the certificate. Where an importer outside Canada wanted the certificate, and perhaps in any case for various reasons, one can see that distillers would have ensured that the whisky in the bottle was not comprised of more than 9.090% imported bourbon or straight rye, say.

    Basically, after July 1, 2009, the position is as mentioned above except that both 9.090% rules mentioned now apply only to exported Canadian whisky. The age-related 9.090% rule no longer applies, therefore, to Canadian whisky sold in Canada.

    It may well be that not more than 9.090% of any domestic or foreign wine or spirit is added to Canadian whisky even where it is sold only here (Dark Horse is only sold here I understand at this time) because so much Canadian whisky has always been exported and presumably therefore was made to that standard whether exported or not. And indeed - it should be said - some Canadian whisky has never had such flavouring added, it depends how the maker wants to put it together.

    Gary

  5. #15
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    Re: Alberta Springs Dark Horse 45% ABV

    Yup, it appears they are taking full advantage of the (DUMB) Canadian Whisky rules:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #16
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    Re: Alberta Springs Dark Horse 45% ABV

    I tried some Dark Horse earlier this week and really enjoyed it. Finally a sipping whisky from Canada! My everyday swill is Jim Beam or Teacher's, which lead me to this forum and this thread, but I'll probably start reaching from Dark Horse a lot more often.

  7. #17
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    Re: Alberta Springs Dark Horse 45% ABV

    Interesting on the spec. You can make "your own", say CC 12, CC 6, any decent bourbon you like, small dash cream sherry, in the proportions mentioned. For a variant, instead of the bourbon, substitute any straight rye. I've made similar things over the years.

    Gary

  8. #18
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    Re: Alberta Springs Dark Horse 45% ABV

    Intriguing idea Gary, of course I'll need a bottle of the original for comparison purposes.

  9. #19
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    Re: Alberta Springs Dark Horse 45% ABV

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillman View Post
    Here are the actual current rules as I understand them: ...

    Gary
    Additional Canadian requirements: By Canadian law, Canadian whisky must be produced and aged in Canada, in oak barrels for a minimum of three years (although most spend from six to eight years in the barrel.) (No distinction is made between new and used barrels in the regulations.) The age statement on a bottle of Canadian whisky is that of the youngest whisky used. They must "possess the aroma, taste and character generally attributed to Canadian whisky" (per Canadian Whisky Regulations).

    Shell

  10. #20
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Alberta Springs Dark Horse 45% ABV

    Yes for sure. I was addressing earlier the 9% rule only. Further rules are coloring or flavoring can be added. Flavoring can be any wine or spirit domestic or imported.

    Gary

 

 

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