This whisky has been around for quite some time – according to Davin De Kergommeaux’s fabulous book Canadian Whisky (which you should read if you haven’t) this was the first whisky distilled and matured under Joseph Seagram’s sole ownership of Waterloo Distillery, when it was around (now the brands still being produced are made largely in Gimli, Manitoba in the distillery that produces Crown Royal). Originally, it had been matured in sherry casks imported from Spain – though now it largely uses casks recycled from Crown Royal production. That is somewhat ironic, as this was one of the key whiskies that enabled the establishment of the Crown Royal brand.
Nose: Fruity, slightly dusty, rye, with some vanilla, coconut, a touch of corn oil, red grapefruit, and a slight bite of clove. There’s a bit of lingering bitterness which isn’t the best, but it’s slight and plays quite the backseat. The vanilla emerges more as the nose opens up. 23.5/30 (78%)
Taste: Light, sweet, with a light apple and grape fruitiness. The backbone of the whisky is rye, with the lighter, fruitiness sitting atop everything and a touch of spicy rye on the finish. And, there’s some maple and vanilla amidst everything. Quite enjoyable! Easy to drink, simple, and light, with a good underlying sweetness – balanced decently. 24.5/30 (82%)
Finish: The grains dominate the finish, with corn taking the lead with a bit of vanilla to complement it. There’s white grape, vanilla, and maple, along with some corn chips. The sweetness and weight of the finish are actually not bad, and it is slightly dry. The finish, surprisingly, seems sweeter than the whisky. 16.5/20 (83%)
Conclusion: I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I assumed, as it is pretty well a budget whisky for old crown royal barrels, it might be a good step down from Crown Royal Fine Deluxe – not so! Light, easy, and pleasant – very much in the Canadian style, so it merits its name. I quite enjoy sipping this one…it’s simple, and not the best dram you’ll find – but the nice body, spicy edge, and easy going nature of this one is ceratinly pleasant. 15.5/20 (78%)