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Crown Royal Blender's Select

Going Solo

2 584

@OdysseusUnboundReview by @OdysseusUnbound

30th Apr 2018

1

  • Nose
    21
  • Taste
    22
  • Finish
    21
  • Balance
    20
  • Overall
    84

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

For all the negatives associated with being a whisky lover in Ontario (high prices, limited selection, etc.) there are some perks. Being a huge market in Canada, we sometimes get whiskies not offered to other Canadians, or to Americans. Crown Royal has released whiskies in Ontario that aren't readily available everywhere else. Crown Royal Blender's Select is an exclusive release at the LCBO and is a vatting of 9 year old rye whiskies and 7 year old rye whiskies from the Coffey still in Gimly, Manitoba. The Coffey Rye is always aged in Virgin oak barrels, according to the Crown Royal marketing rep, er "Brand Ambassador", who spoke about it on the Whisky Topic podcast. This whisky is produced from a mashbill of 64% Corn, 31.5% Rye, 4.5% Malted Barley (according to Jason Hambrey). The Blender's Select is one of the 5 types of whisky used in other Crown Royal products. It's rich and flavourful, and it's the star of the show here.

Tasting notes

  • Nose (undiluted): buttery toffee, maple sugar, a bit of oak, sawdust, cedar, rye and oak spice (cloves, nutmeg) and a slight orange zest note

  • Palate (undiluted): rich and creamy arrival, caramel popcorn, butterscotch, banana, a bit of coconut, vanilla and cinnamon

  • Finish: medium length, sweet, a hint of white grape juice, milk chocolate, banana, and a bit of drying rye spice and oak tannins.

With water, the banana notes become much more prominent with some hard toffee making an appearance as well. In fact, with water, all I can smell and taste is banana. Skip the water. Neat, this is a very pleasant after dinner sipper. It's not cloyingly sweet, but it's close to the line for me. Interesting enough to be worth the price of admission.

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5 comments

@Victor
Victor commented

Interesting review. It is very good that bottling at 45% ABV is becoming more common in Canada now. When you describe 'mashbill' are you implying that the grains are mashed together, and not in the usual Canadian blended whisky style of distilling the grains separately and then combining/blending different whiskies from the different grains? That mashbill would describe a high rye content bourbon, if this were a US product.

As for bananas, I love bananas in whisky, but don't seem to encounter them much. Most people don't seem to love banana flavours in their whiskies. If I got bananas when adding water I might be tempted to drink it that way all of the time. BANANA WHISKY. Good name for a review title. Guess I'll have to investigate banana brandy now. I see that the web is full of recipes for it.

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

@Victor According to the Crown Royal Master Blender on that same Whisky Topic podcast, the Coffey Rye is indeed a bourbon-style mashbill, with the grains milled, cooked, fermented together. Hearing this was over 30% rye was surprising, since I didn't find this whisky very rye-forward. Then again, I listened to Don Livermore talk about how the grains aren't everything, since distillation techniques as well as barrel types and char levels all affect flavour. The level of banana flavour was in the goldilocks zone (just right) when drinking this neat. With water, it was too much banana for my liking. Banana and peanut brittle...without the peanuts. It would be interesting to vat this whisky 50:50 with Northern Harvest Rye. I know that one isn't very popular here, but I like it.

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

@OdysseusUnbound, thanks very much for the information. As for CRNHR, batch variation! I expect that I would probably like that batch which JIm Murray rated at 97.5 points...although I am not certain because what I have had of Col E H Taylor Rye has not impressed me, and Mr. Murray and others are huge fans of that too. Even my 'meh' palate bottle of CRNHR has a fabulous nose. You find out the quality of what you bought only after you open the bottle...and even then many whiskies don't show their best sides until they take a good bit of air.

I would like to hear more distillers getting into the biochemistry, as Don Livermore has. Some of them are competent to discuss it, but few seem willing to do so with aficionados. So far Livermore sounds like the authority because he has no one else giving opinions. I expect that he knows what he is talking about in his overarching opinions, but how much does that help the product line? To hear him tell the tale, Dr. Don remains hamstrung by his corporate masters in what is made and sold at J.P. Wiser's. They are taking his favourite whisky, Wiser's Legacy, away from him and us and telling him what products they want produced. Don may know quite a few very useful things with respect to distilling, but what does that matter if other people are making the decisions about what is being made?

For those interested in Tales of the Cocktail, Dr. Don Livermore will probably be there again this year as he was last year.

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

@Victor Funny you should mention Legacy, I follow the good doctor on Twitter and he's prone to re-tweeting anything with the hashtag #BringBackLegacy

I agree with you, to a certain extent, about CRNH. But even my weakest bottles of it were at least 81 points, by my evaluation. The best bottle of it was easily a 90 point whisky. That's a fairly wide margin, but at $35 CAD (and often less), it's a gamble I'm willing to take.

We can talk about Canadian whisky and how the blenders are, ahem, "limited" by their corporate overlords, but I feel like scotch distilleries are in the same situation. The overwhelming majority of scotch whiskies sold worldwide are blends. Single malts (and other sipping whiskies) may excite the aficionados, but JW Red, Dewar's White Label and their ilk "keep the shop lights on", as do Wiser's Special Blend and Crown Royal Deluxe.

about one year ago 2Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@OdysseusUnbound, thank you for a well written, informative, and enjoyable review.

Crown Royal Blenders Select is a shining example of exactly why this style of whisky is available only in Ontario. Example of what? An example of how the LCBO makes it difficult for whisky producers to showcase their talents by erecting barriers to the marketplace, and as a result we are presented with an exclusive offering for Ontario of NOTHING SPECIAL. This is a watered-down version of the single barrel Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel. It is the horse designed by a committee, it is a camel. Nothing "special" about this one! Why can't we have CRHSB in Canada!?! It is currently available at select retailers in The US. My bottles have come from Texas and New Mexico.

There is no comparison. Me thinks thou hast scored Blenders Select fairly with a rating of 84 points. The 103 proof version (is one of the best bourbons I have ever tasted...yes I said bourbon!) is easily 10 points better, well that's the way I scored it.

SHAME, SHAME, SHAME ON Diageo and LCBO for releasing less than the best Coffey Still "Rye"....the last time I checked the lights were on at both places (but nobody was home).

about one year ago 2Who liked this?

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