This bourbon earned the Gold Medal at the Beverage Testing Institute Competition in 2013, where it earned a score of 91 points.
"The name Dark Horse came to us because we knew we had a long road ahead of us when we started the distillery," says Damien Garcia, Dark Horse Distillery's Director of Sales. "We saw tons of liquor brands being launched and lining the shelves of stores, bars and restaurants and knew that it was going to be an uphill battle to get people to know that our brand really stood for quality. The term "˜Dark Horse"spoke to us as that horse that started in the back of the pack, but came on strong. That's what we think our brand does, too."
Dark Horse Bourbon Whiskey is made from a mash of 80% corn and 20% rye, both of which are sourced from local farms in the American Midwest. Once the grains have been transported to the distillery, they are milled and mashed before being fermented with a proprietary strain of yeast that was formulated specifically for Dark Horse Bourbon. By using sour mash to catalyze the fermentation process (sour mash refers to the art of using a small amount of spent mash from an older batch of whiskey in order to catalyze fermentation in a new batch of whiskey), Dark Horse is able to maintain consistency with each bottling. Once the mash has been fermented for five to six days, it is distilled through a custom-made Vendome copper-pot still.
Dark Horse Rye Whiskey is made from a mash of 100% rye grains that are sourced from local farms in the American Midwest. Much as with Dark Horse Bourbon, the rye is milled and mashed before being fermented for five to six days. "We have ten fermenters, so we can have ten fermentations going at once," says Garcia. Once fermentation is complete, the rye is distilled through Dark Horse's copper-pot still.
Following distillation, both Dark Horse Bourbon and Dark Horse Rye are matured in new, American oak casks. "The key to aging whiskey is actually the wood and the changes in temperature," says Garcia. "In here, the temperature gets as low as 50 degrees and as hot as 100 degrees,"he says of the barrel-house. "That fluctuation of temperature helps the wood expand and contract. What that does is force the whiskey inside to interact with the wood."Once the bourbon and rye have matured for up two years, each is bottled by hand.
Dark Horse Bourbon Whiskey has a warming aroma of maple, cedar and roasted nuts. The bourbon is full-bodied, with notes of caramel, honey and smoke on the palate leading to a lasting finish with touches of buttered bread, creamy vanilla and nuts. The bourbon earned the Gold Medal at the Beverage Testing Institute in 2013, where it received a score of 91 points.
Dark Horse Rye Whiskey has a rich aroma of spices, cloves and cinnamon. Notes of citrus and butterscotch initially dominate the palate, and give way to bold notes of rye bread, ginger and oak. The finish is smooth and memorable, with touches of caramel and rye.
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89 (44.5% ABV) each
Dark Horse Distillery
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Bourbon: Warming aroma of maple, cedar and roasted nuts. Full-bodied, with notes of caramel, honey and smoke leading to a lasting finish with touches of buttered bread, creamy vanilla and nuts.