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Crown Royal Special Reserve

Happy 150th Canada! - Part II of XIII

0 388

@talexanderReview by @talexander

17th Jun 2017

1

  • Nose
    22
  • Taste
    21
  • Finish
    22
  • Balance
    23
  • Overall
    88

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Sometime last year, I walked into the LCBO at Galleria Mall at Dupont & Dufferin, and saw a Crown Royal release on the shelf that I had never seen before. With a gold and purple box, a tassel around the neck and a label that said "Special Reserve", I suspected it was the US release of what we know here as "Crown Royal Reserve" (which is in a brown box, and with no tassel). I then realized that there was no French on the packaging or bottle at all - only English. It must have been erroneously shipped to and stocked by the LCBO! So of course I snapped one up. I had heard that the US release was different than the Canadian release (which I only scored a 73 a few years ago) so let's compare.

The colour is a deep amber. The first thing on the nose is sharp rye, followed by baked apples, cinnamon and wet slate. Soft wood smoke. Thick caramel. Vanilla custard. Ripe banana peel. Quite floral, with a touch of mint. Avoid water, it flattens the nose and palate (though it also improves with time in the glass). Beautiful and perfectly balanced between spice, grain and sweetness.

On the palate there is a bit more rye and caramel, with allspice, dates and chewy oak. Apple crumble. Mint and sage. Again, it's a lovely balance between each of the sweet, spicy and grain notes; too bad about the thin mouthfeel though.

The mouth-drying finish is chalky with toasted oak, butterscotch and baking spices. It's a very well balanced whisky, with more elegance than most other Crown Royal products. It could use a bit more oomph, but it is beautifully structured. And how does it compare to the Canadian release? The Canadian version is slightly darker in colour, and with a slightly thicker mouthfeel - but it is also a little flatter and sweeter in flavour. It just doesn't have the brightness of the rye spice coming through. I might score it a bit higher than the 73 I gave it a few years ago, but I wouldn't score it as high as the US release, which is clearly superior. Why the US gets a slightly different whisky than we do is beyond my understanding - if anyone has any insights into that, please comment.

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3 comments

@casualtorture
casualtorture commented

I'll hav to try this one when I get back in a couple weeks.

Maybe they just understand the Americans have a more refined and discriminatory palate ;) now all the Canadians can have at me...i'll go on the defensive.

2 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

@casualtorture That might be close - perhaps it's that the US palate might prefer something closer to a US rye style, whereas maybe Canadians prefer something a little sweeter or mixable? I don't know - I'm just guessing.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

@casualtorture, just beware that CR Special Reserve has huge batch variation. Read my review of it and commentary for the full run-down on that. I had a superlative bottle of CRSR, but I've tasted from others that were definitely NOT superlative, including @talexander's first bottle just mentioned.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

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