Last week I was invited to attend a launch party for Alberta Permium‘s new premium product: Dark Horse. At first I was a little hesitent because I had never been a huge fan of rye whisky or scotch. I found them to lack in flavour, burn going down and they often caused me to get bad heartburn. That was until I tried Alberta Premium’s Dark Horse. The Dark Horse is the first whisky that I have tried that I actually really like!

The event was held at Turf Lounge, which is probably the nicest of the off-track betting locations in Ontario (and secretly one of my favourite spots downtown), and was organized by the great people at Praxis PR. The evening included a whisky tasting, gourmet dinner with whisky pairings and some horse betting. What more can you ask for!

Alberta Premium Dark Horse Event

Alberta Premium Dark Horse Event at Turf Lounge (Photo by: Zach Slootksy)

Upon arrival we were handed a whisky & ginger ale concoction known as “The Horse Whisperer” by the friendly staff at Turf Lounge. I immediately started to question why I had disliked whisky all these years because this drink was damn tasty! It seems as though the Dark Horse works well in drinks where I would have usually put rum in it’s place. The major differences are that unlike rum it is not super sweet tasting  and unlike other whiskies it doesn’t have an overpowering taste that I find ruins many whisky-based drinks.

Before we even made it to the table I managed to get in a few bets on the upcoming horse race. My first bet was a winner!

My first bet

My first bet wins! Lucky number 7!

While at our seats we learned a bit of background about Alberta Premium and Turf Lounge then had a tutoured tasting led by Canadian Whisky: The Portable Expert author, Davin De Kergommeaux. During the presentation we got to try the Dark Horse whisky side-by-side with Alberta Premium’s regular whisky. The Dark Horse was quite strong tasting but only had a mild burn going down. It left a nice sweet smoky oak taste in my mouth and didn’t hurt in my chest whatsoever. Unlike the regular whisky, the Dark Horse had a much more powerful nose and lasted throughout the tasting while it’s predecessor disappeared. I really liked it!

Alberta Premium Whisky

Alberta Premium Whisky Comparison – Dark Horse on the right.

The composition of Alberta Premium Dark Horse is 91% rye whisky, 8-8.5% bourbon and 0.5-1% sherry. It is 45% alcohol by volume and currently only comes in a 750ml bottle.

The price point is by far one of the biggest things I like about Dark Horse and why I thought it would be a great addition to this blog. It is currently available at the LCBO for just $29.95! I really believe that you are getting a premium product for only a few dollars more than the regular Alberta Premium Whisky which sells for $23.90.

Similar to the Sauza Hornitos product that I reviewed a few months ago, I really like how alcohol companies are now creating these “in-between” premium products that have the taste of an expensive product yet the price tag is only slightly more than an inexpensive one. The Dark Horse is great to drink in both mixed cocktails (as I experienced at dinner) or on it’s own.

Here is the menu for the meal put together by Turf Lounge’s Michael Kirkwood with a Dark Horse cocktail accompanying every course:

Dark Horse Tasting Menu

Dark Horse Tasting Menu at Turf Lounge

Here are some pictures of all the food and drinks that we enjoyed:


Majestic Prince w/ Beet & Vanilla Panna Cotta

Majestic Prince Cocktail – Dark Horse, Lemon-Ginger Juice & Pineapple served with Whisky Roast Beets w/ chili & vanilla panna cotta, gooseberry compote.

Main Course:

Cheval Noir & Beef Tenderloin

Cheval Noir Cocktail: Alberta Premium Dark Horse, maple spiced syrup & walnut bitters. Served w/ Lightly Smoked Alberta Beef Tenderloin w/ etuvee of autumn squash, wild mushroom & maple whisky jus.


Dark Horse Dessert

Cavalli Oscuro (drink): Dark Horse, espresso, chocolate bitters & Galliano. Served w/ Chocolate bar w/ Alberta Premium Dark Horse Creme Anglaise & coffee bubbles.


I really liked the meal a lot because it was interesting to see all the different things you could do with this whisky when it came to cooking. I also thought the cocktails were very creative and gave me some interesting ideas on how I can mix my Dark Horse in the future. My favourite food item was the beef tenderloin and my favourite drink was the majestic prince (see below for recipe).

One of the best things that happened during dinner was my girlfriend Amanda, my friend Jo and I decided to split a bet on an exactor (pick the first 2 horses to finish in the correct order) for one of the horse races which ended up winning!  Our $6 bet made us just shy of $100! I also had another bet on the same race where I picked the winner and made about $50 also! This definitely made it an even more enjoyable dinner.

In conclusion, if you like whisky (or were like myself who didn’t care for it but was willing to give it another try) I definitely recommend you pick up a bottle of this stuff! This is a must for stocking your liquor cabinet at an affordable price. At under $30 a bottle you get a very great premium quality product for a incredible price that you can drink straight or in your favourite cocktail.


Win a FREE Bottle of Alberta Premium Dark Horse

Gift Bag from Alberta Premium

Gift Bag from Dark Horse

Thanks to the great people at Praxis PR I have an extra Alberta Premium Dark Horse gift bag (pictured above) to giveaway to one visitor of this blog post. You must be legal drinking age and may be required to prove this upon winning the prize pack. Here is how to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Dark Horse Majestic Prince Cocktail Recipe

1 oz Alberta Premium Dark Horse
1/2 oz lemon-ginger juice
Splash Pineapple juice
Shake and serve, garnish with gooseberry/pineapple wedge

Dark Horse Majestic Prince

Dark Horse Majestic Prince (Photo by: Zach Slootksy)


Dark Horse Tasting Notes

Here are the tasting notes provided by Alberta Distillers:

Colour: Deep, rich mahogany.
Nose: With bourbon and scotch characteristics, it imparts flavours of vanilla, smoke, sweet oak and savoury dried fruit such as plum and black currant.
Palate: Experience a horseshoe shaped pattern on the tongue with tanginess and spice on the sides and sweetness on the tip.
Finish: A front-finishing whisky and very smooth.