Maker: Crown Royal, Gimli, Manitoba, Canada. (Diageo)
Style: Blended Canadian Whisky
Age: NAS (at least 3 y/o by Canadian law)
Michigan State Minimum: $25/750 ml.
Appearance: Pale copper with some spotty necklacing.
Nose: Harsh and grainy. Burnt creamed corn, a sharp shot of rye, wood varnish.
On the palate: Full-bodied and sweet. Clotted cream, a touch of caramel, slight bite of alcohol and wood tannins.
Finish: Grape Nuts Cereal, a bit of caramel and then it quickly fades.
Mixed: Good with ginger ale and in an Old Fashioned. OK in a Manhattan and in an old cocktail recipe I dug up called a Frontenac (Canadian Whisky, Grand Marnier and bitters). It doesn’t add much to either of the latter, except perhaps some body, but it doesn’t hurt them either.
Parting words: Crown Royal has all the hallmarks of very young whiskey: cereal, full body and sharpness. This is most pronounced in the nose, which is by far the least appealing aspect of this whisky. It borders on nauseating. The rest of it isn’t so bad, just dull.
As a mixing whisky it does well as noted above, but it is hampered by the low proof. There is also a Crown Royal Black at 90 proof that may be a better option for Manhattans and similar cocktails but given the nose, it might not be a bad thing to cover that mess up with mixers.
My biggest beef is the price. $25 is too much for something this young and brash. Canadian Club 100 is $17 and comes in at 50% ABV, and the 12 y/o CC Classic comes in at $23 and sips as well as it mixes. A minor beef is the gaudy, ridiculous bottle and packaging. The bottle resembles something that might contain perfume belonging to an elderly French prostitute and the purple gold trimmed felt sack that it comes in goes right into the garbage as soon as it’s purchased. Overall, Crown Royal is mildly recommended for cocktails, but not recommended as a sipping whisky.