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Crown Royal Reserve

Sweetness In The Belly

0 673

@talexanderReview by @talexander

12th Feb 2012


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

I now have only one more CR left in the range to try - the Black - hopefully I will be able to get to that one soon and complete my work with this brand!

It has a beautiful deep red amber colour - clearly a richer and fuller whisky than the standard CR.

The nose is spicy with nutmeg and cloves, and gives of oaky rye notes, enveloped by caramel. Water brings out more of that rye, which I welcome as I otherwise find the nose a little too sweet.

Sweetness becomes more apparent in the mouth, which I am a little averse to. I love the spices though - cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves. It's buttery in the mouthfeel. The sweetness feels like toffee, and there is some fruit (berries) present as well. Strangely, water doesn't seem to alter the taste profile much at all.

The finish is quite long but here is where the minty sweetness becomes very cloying to me, unfortunately.

Comparing it to the other CRs, I don't find this at the level of the Limited Edition or the XR, but it is much richer and fuller bodied than the standard. If this interests you, Jim Murray crowned this (pun intended) the Canadian Whisky Of The Year in his latest edition, and scored it a 96. But I'm not seeing it - there are a few Canadian whiskies I would have rated much higher. Apparently, the packaging is slightly different outside of Canada (or maybe just in the US?) than it is here: our bottle and case say "Reserve" rather than "Special Reserve" (though it says "Special Reserve" on the cap), and doesn't come with the signature cloth bag. If you are outside of Canada, let me know if I am correct!

Related Crown Royal reviews


JeffC commented

My bottle, purchased in the USA in the state of Virginia, also says Reserve on the bottle and Special Reserve on the cap. There was no case or cloth bag when I purchased this a few months ago.

8 years ago 0

Victor commented

@talexander, having sampled from your reviewed bottle, if I had known that there would be so much difference between your bottle and mine, I would have brought a sample from my bottle with me to Toronto for you to taste side by side. I think that you would be amazed at the differences. I have resampled my own bottle since I have been home and I have to say that I think that you got a bottle from an off batch. Mr. Murray wasn't nuts in liking the flavours in "my bottle". The differences between 'sharp and vivid' and 'dull and muffled' are pretty easy to spot. I have sampled the Crown Royal XR, but not the Special Edition. The sample of XR I had was very similar to my bottle of (Special) Reserve, but not anywhere near as good. I would, though, as you did, similarly describe the sample I had of Crown Royal XR as better than the sample I had from your bottle.

These batch variations can be maddening. I have had several crappy first samples from usually good whiskies, which put me off from those whiskies for a very long time. One of the things I really like about reading Jim Murray is that he is not the least bit shy about changing his numerical ratings on a whisky by as much as 15 points from one reviewed sample to the next of the same whisky. In my book that just reflects the variability that actually occurs. The samples of standard Crown Royal I have had over the years had never impressed me much. It always seems kind of blah to me...dull, and without much dimension. Lately, though, I have been buying cheap minis of standard Crown Royal for sample reuse purposes which have been much spicier and better than before, in fact, I would say, spicier than is your present bottle of Crown Royal Special Reserve. Most people want to know what they are getting and therefore want consistency in their whiskies. That only occurs for variable limited periods of time.

About the CR Reserve labeling: mine has a light brown bag, the identical outer box as those in Ontario, and a cap that does say Special Reserve. My bottle cap is a different colour than is yours--light brown to match the bag, whereas I remember yours to have been more silvery.

To conclude, having sampled from your reviewed bottle of the Crown Royal (Special) Reserve I would now be much more cautious about considering buying another bottle of it for myself.

8 years ago 0

talexander commented

It really is surprising how different they are in this case. I can understand more when the same single malt distillery bottlings are a little different, but a blend? Isn't part of the point to adjust the quantities of each whisky to ensure consistency? You would think they would be much more careful with this, ESPECIALLY with a brand as important (and which has so many devotees) as Crown Royal. Hmmmm. I wonder if something else is at work here - I wouldn't put it past Diageo to export a higher quality whisky than what is kept here within our borders, where brand loyalty is more assured. I smell a conspiracy!

8 years ago 0

Victor commented

Speaking of differences in individual bottles, ask @dbk about his bottle of Amrut Fusion...if you want the hairs in your ears singed! I can tell you that his bottle tastes just as he says it does, and about a galaxy removed in taste from other Amrut Fusion I have sampled.

8 years ago 0

paddockjudge commented

I've consumed both the domestic and export expressions of Crown Royal "Special" - they were superb; however, the U.S. "special" was indeed 'more special' and surpassed the domestic offerings of 2010 and 2012. Probably different blends sharing the same style of bottle and sporting their own colors.

6 years ago 0

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