Whenever I have friends or family flying in from elsewhere, I usually ask them to bring in a bottle of something “exotic.” If there’s time, I do some research and ask them for a particular bottle that tickles my fancy. But if they don’t have the time or opportunity to seek out anything specific, that’s cool too. I just tell them “Grab me a bottle of whatever’s local.” Of course it’s a hit or miss system, but at least I know I’ll end up with something unique.
That’s how I ended up with my bottle of Crown Royal Limited Edition. I know, you’re laughing at the concept of Crown Royal being exotic. Well, don’t. For one thing, I’m in Asia and Canadian whiskies are simply impossible to find out here. For another, the Limited Edition is sold exclusively in Canada. So there! Anyway I’d never tried this one, so I didn’t know if my opportunistic buy would turn out to be a good one or not. Let’s find out.
Nose: Cloves, grass, rye, sawdust, nutmeg, citrus zest, and anise. There’s a burn to this reminiscent of apple vinegar. With time comes more sweetness in the form of vanilla and crème brulée, with emphasis on the brulée. Quite a busy and interesting nose with a strong Canadian character.
Palate: Very creamy, soft, velvety mouthfeel. The development here is very interesting. A very subdued, sweet rye comes in first. Big vanilla, whipped cream, bananas, and roasted nuts. This tastes like a banana sundae served beside French toast drizzled in pancake syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon. As it develops more spices begin to come through.
Finish: Ah… This is the best part. On the surface there’s some oak and a minty, vanilla, caramel creaminess that reminds me of Bailey’s. Underneath there’s an intricate dance between rye spices and banana bread. Within the rye we get grass notes, spearmint, cloves, and heaps of nutmeg. Then there’s banana bread with walnuts and cinnamon. Medium long, complex, and quite lovely.
The nose is somewhat deceptive. It suggests much more sharpness, graininess, and tang than is delivered on the palate. However, once tasted, this is astonishingly rich and luxurious for a Canadian offering. Creamy, soft, gentle, and complex. Sweeter than expected, but never cloying. The palate and finish are superb here, with quality flavours wrapped in a velvet blanket of creaminess. I could grumble about the low abv. or the twist-off cap, but why bother? For only $40 a bottle, this is a steal.