Crown Royal and I do not have much of a history. My first experience that I can remember is tasting the Northern Harvest Rye from a sample (pre-Murray) from @Paddockjudge. At the same sitting I tried the Monarch expression. Neither really impressed me much. I did try some “Hand-Selected Barrel” coffey rye at the Ontario Summit, but I have no notes on it (it was whisky # 32 that day). I think I remember liking it.
LCBO recently listed this limited release. This sample is courtesy @Nelom, from a recently opened bottle. I received the sample a few days ago and opened it today.
This expression is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, but given that it is bottled at 40.2% no water has been added by me.
Nose: Weak, even covered in the glass for a few minutes. I get a hint of spiciness (presumably the rye) and slight floral note. Not unpleasant but innocuous. 18/25
Taste: thin, spirit. Some rye spiciness hinted at in the nose. Fairly sweet. Smooth (whisky’s 6-letter word). Simple. 20/25
Finish: short. Dry. Maybe a little cracked black peppercorns. Boring. 18/25
Balance: The nose is weaker than the taste. I guess they are well-balanced but this whisky lacks a complexity and is quite boring. 19/25
I am not a Canadian whisky enthusiast. I’ve made that clear in the past. More and more I believe that I might lack the discriminating palate to pick up the subtleties of these whiskies. I remain baffled that people I know, FRIENDS whose palates I trust, get so much more out of these whiskies than I can.
But there are some Canadian whiskies that I enjoy, and I’ve reviewed some of them (perhaps more to come in the future). The ones with more complex and stronger flavours seem to appeal to me. So (because I am Canadian) I apologize to anyone who likes Crown Royal and feels slighted by this mark.
The thing is, when I compare this to other Canadian whiskies in the ?$70 range (Highwood 90/20, Forty Creek Confederation Oak, Wiser’s Last Barrels), I really feel the quality just isn’t there. I wouldn’t buy it at any price.
I’m very grateful to @Nelom for this sample, as I am to all those who let me try something that isn’t in my usual comfort zone so I don’t have to buy a bottle that could languish on my shelf for decades.
@Nozinan You know that Canadian Whisky is not my favorite type of whisky either. But I don't think I lack the palate but for me they often are too sweet with no counterparts to give them balance and complexity. I have to add that they are playing with flavors I don't like in my whisky, like Maple! There is two that I realy like: ,Legacy and Gibson 18. I first loved Lot 40, but after afew sips, it is too much. I feel like I am drinking from a bottle of perfume. I don't apologise because I am not blaming them or saying it is not good, I am simply saying that I prefer something else. It is not only my right, it is something on which I have no control, that is the way it is.
So, this was just picked by Whisky Advocate as the Canadian Whisky of the Year for 2016, and in the write-up there's an interesting piece of trivia that I was not aware of:
"A few years ago, when they were making a batch of Crown Royal Deluxe, workers at the Gimli distillery accidentally blended in an extra tanker car of flavoring whisky. Rather than leave an expensive railcar out of service, they transferred this whisky back into barrels to await future needs. In the barrel, new crisp oaky notes, rye spices, soaring florals, and hints of chocolate developed, and so Cornerstone Blend was born."
(I made an identical comment on another Cornerstone review, but thought it worthwhile to post here too)