Crown Royal Multi-Review: Deluxe, Reserve, Black, Northern Harvest Rye and Hand Selected Barrel

Given it’s the end of the year, I thought why not post some reviews of a brand that will be consumed to great excess come New Years’ Eve. I’ve had a number of Crown Royal expressions over the years and the 5 that follow are the ones I’ve had a chance to sit down and review. there’s a certain nostalgia to this brand for me, as I recall sneaking drinks from the liquor cabinet as a teenager, or getting mickies of it bought for me and friends by my older sister’s boyfriend. Most of the expressions are blends of 50 different whiskies, and generally taste similar, but they’ve gotten a bit more experimental as of late. let’s see how those newer expressions stack up to the classics.

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Crown Royal Deluxe, the omnipresent ‘smooth’ Canadian whisky that we all drank illicitly as kids and thought was high quality whisky, at least in comparison to the ‘cheap’ bottles you could buy (or have bought for you when under 19). Pretty sure this was the first whisky I ever tasted, probably as a rye and coke. I’m glad to see the brand is branching out into some more crafty blends, and i didn’t actually mind the CR Black when i tried it a couple years ago. let’s see how the base model fares. I’m drinking the dregs from a 1.75L i won in the toonie toss at my sister’s stag & doe. I finally emptied this after bringing it to many family events and sharing with the brothers in law.

Crown Royal – 40% ABVcr

  • Appearance: e150
  • Nose: Maple, sugar, ethanol, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla
  • Palate: Sweet, ethanol, maple, brown sugar, vanilla, slight rye spice. Well doesn’t surprise based on the nose.
  • Finish: Medium length, sweet
  • Score: 66

needs to be mixed.

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at my wife’s uncle’s place again for a family gathering and into his whisky I delve… this uncle’s selection is sparse so I figured I’d do a couple Canadian whiskies just to add to the list. … let’s see if this is good at all

Crown Royal Reserve – 43% ABVcrr

  • Appearance: e150
  • Nose: typical CR nose. Maple. Caramel. Blendy. Grain.
  • Palate: less harsh than regular CR, but very similar profile. Typical Canadian rye. Caramel vanilla grain. Some spiciness and rye flavour. maple of course.
  • Finish: short and spicy
  • Score: 70

nothing unexpected. tastes a lot like the regular CR.

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This is one I’ve have many times and just figured I’d pay attention for once and make some notes! I got input from my brother in law and sister too

Crown Royal Black – 45% ABVcrb

  • Appearance: very dark amber brown. Obviously coloured, weak legs
  • Nose: caramel, vanilla, peppery spices, strong rye scent, maize, strong alcohol scent. Bacon.
  • Taste: lots of oak, other woody flavours, rich spices, caramel and vanilla, great alcohol burn, very mellow with water. Sweet lingering finish. Cinnamon. Sausage in the finish

Rating: 82/100

much better than regular CR, but not as good as most of the offerings from Forty Creek, or the Alberta Premium Dark Horse, which is cheaper and much better at the same ABV.

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next we moved on to the WHISKY OF THE YEAR 2015!!!!!!!!!!! WHOA BEST WHISKY EVER!!! I will say this, the fact that they released this at 45% and made a 100% rye is a step up for Crown Royal. Let’s see how it compares to Jim Murray’s assessment.

Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye – 45% ABVcrnhr

  • Appearance: light orange gold
  • Nose: sweet, sugary, some rye spice
  • Taste: lots of rye, spices, very sweet. Peaches, some citrus. Candies. Way more flavour than a regular CR and not as spirity.
  • Finish: short and sweet

Score: 78/100

better than I expected to be honest. Not the best in the world, not the best in Canada, not the best in Canada at that price point, but still, not the worst whisky I’ve had.

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Canadian whisky… often seen as the lesser younger sibling of scotch and bourbon – unless you’re Jim Murray of course – I’ll admit, I usually look at Crown Royal as a waste of money, and after the CRNHR hullabaloo last year figured any hype around other bottles will be a fallacy as well. we’ll see if this Texas-only release is more of the same.

Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel – 51.5% ABVcrhsb

  • Nose: very little nose to speak of. Doesn’t smell like rye or oak or like there’s any alcohol. Strange
  • Taste: cedar. Holy crap that’s a ton of cedar. Really sweet, super woody. More cedar, damn that’s unique.
  • Finish: medium to short, cedar.

Score: 85/100

that’s a crazy unique dram. Definitely better than other CRs I’ve had. Why the heck wouldn’t they release this normally? Never tasted this much cedar in a dram before, which is really neat. Didn’t know it was possible for them to make something this good. There’s hope yet…. if you live in Texas at least.

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Long story short, when they don’t blend 50 whiskies together, Crown Royal makes some decent stuff! Here’s hoping they release some of those single barrels in Canada, as it’s likely the only product of theirs I’d be likely to purchase.

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