High fruity & floral esters, vanilla, clean wood, charcoal, green apples, slight nuttiness, spicy and silky smooth. Very approachable – bourbonesque but not bourbon. ★★★★☆
New for 2018, Crown Royal Blenders’ Mash showcases one of the components that go into Canada’s best selling whisky, Crown Royal DeLuxe.
Mark Balkenende is one of several people who make up the Crown Royal blending team, and it was Mark who took the lead in creating this approachable, vanilla-rich whisky. With a team of blenders rather than a single master blender for Crown Royal, each member can focus on just a few whiskies. This is one of the keys to Crown Royal’s unwavering batch consistency.
As natural agricultural products, whisky grains are anything but consistent from year to year. Rather, the flavours vary depending on the weather, among other factors. So, each year the recipes must be tweaked, and every year, the ratios of the 50+ whiskies that are blended together to make Crown Royal are adjusted.
The 50 whiskies used to blend Crown Royal come from two distinct whisky streams: The first stream begins as two base distillates, one a continuously distilled all-corn distillate and the other an all-corn distillate which is made in small batches after fermenting in open, square stainless steel fermenters. This second base is the source of the canned-milk creaminess of Crown Royal. Matured for various periods of time in a variety of barrels, the two corn distillates produce a range of different base whiskies for the blenders to choose among.
The second stream consists of three spirits that are matured in various barrels for various periods of time to create a range of flavouring whiskies. An almost all-rye flavouring whisky is the foundation of the wildly successful Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye.
The other two flavouring whiskies are made using an American-style mash bill of 64% corn, 31.5% rye and 4.5% malted barley. Interestingly, after this mash is fermented it can be distilled in a Coffey still and matured into the Coffey rye that is bottled as Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel. On the other hand, if it is distilled in a short bourbon column it matures into Crown Royal bourbon-like flavouring whisky. It is not bourbon, though the flavour certainly suggests otherwise.
Bringing this bourbon-style flavouring whisky to the fore was Balkenende’s objective with Crown Royal Blenders’ Mash and he has succeeded.
This new whisky is as eminently approachable as it is smooth, creamy and richly flavourful without being aggressive. New drinkers will love it and Crown Royal die-hards will relish it as an amped-up Crown Royal DeLuxe. The woody vanilla notes that are the fingerprints of Crown Royal are right out front. This is not bourbon, but for someone who likes the idea of bourbon but can’t get past the bite, here is your whisky.
High esters, vanilla, hints of clean wood, fruits and flowers, green apples, cereal tones. Overtones of bourbon.
Creamy corn laced with vanilla. Bourbonish with nutty and cereal notes. Round, sweet, luscious and approachable. Peppery spices that are mild a first become hotter on the finish. The palate maintains a consistent creamy mouthfeel. Gradually increasing oak tannins add structure while hints of charcoal bring us back to not-quite bourbon. The finish is exceptionally long with sweet corn, vanilla and tingling hot spiciness.
★★★★☆ Highly recommended
About $30 in US liquor stores.
Note: In Canada this whisky is known as Crown Royal Bourbon Mash, which is reviewed here.