This whisky is (relatively) recently introduced – a higher strength (45%), “robust, full-bodied” whisky. It certainly is, relative to the regular offerings and the silky Cask No. 16 and Crown Royal Reserve – but it is still quite smooth and creamy (in line with the other crown royal products), and certainly does not have as big a body as I was expecting from the label. It is distilled, with the other Crown Royal products, at the Diageo plant in Gimli, Manitoba.
Nose: Fruity, with light bourbon notes, chocolate, and some gooseberries. There’s a bit of grainy rye and it is a touch sour; the fruitiness is interesting – it’s quite light, with just touches of apple and starfruit, but more dominated by soft fruits (apricots, peaches) and even marula fruit (which I only know from the liquer Amarula). There’s also a bit of cedar which fits in nicely, with some brown sugar, bitter orange, rye bread, and a touch of stale rye with just a hint of bitterness. It also has distinct hints of the blackberry and black currant notes you get in some big red wines. This comes alongside some stale, slightly mineral notes, and even some hints of fried onion (which I had to verify I wasn’t getting from the kitchen – I wasn’t!). Very interesting. 25/30 (83%)
Taste: It starts out with some juicy, fruity rye and ends delicately with corn, vanilla, oak, and some light fruitiness after a touch of rye. It’s actually quite tangy, which is interesting – and it is yet creamy and rich. There’s some cacao, cinnamon, ginger, and brown sugar in the mix, too. Quite enjoyable, but not outstanding. 24.5/30 (82%)
Finish: Some cedar, ginger, vanilla, orange peel, and oak appear, with some subtler notes of nutmeg and cinnamon and a touch of smoke. The fruitiness is not as present as I would expect. However, the finish is quite light but still full. 16.5/20 (83%)
Conclusion: The colour is actually not very black…I find it a touch off-putting. Jim Murray described this whisky as “russet” – he got that right. It interestingly treads through both bold and delicate, as you might expect from a Crown Royal. 16.5/20 (83%)
Overall Score: 82.5/100