Icing sugar sprinkled gently on apple pie, with hints of roses that develop tingly spices, crispy wood and typical rye fruitiness. Smooth vanilla pudding with a buttery finish. ★★★★★
Nose: Baking spices, apple pie, vague floral notes, old lumber, vanilla, allspice, rye bread, dusty grain and dried dark fruits.
Palate: Saltwater toffee sweetness, Granny Smith apples and orange zest that dips in and out of citrus pith. Hot invigorating spices in a full-bodied vanilla custard. Peppery heat and spicy warmth under that typical rye fruitiness. Oak lingers in the background creating a framework for the broad palate to rest on. So complex, yet tightly woven into one.
Finish: Long lingering spices with Crown Royal’s signature buttery smoothness.
Empty Glass: Gentle beach rose petals, orange liqueur, aged barn boards and hints of grain. Plums and clean oak.
From Day One, more than 75 years ago, Crown Royal has remained the quintessential example of the whisky blender’s art. More than 50 different whiskies, all from the Gimli, Manitoba distillery are carefully mingled together to create Crown Royal. Little wonder this is Canada’s best selling whisky.
For Northern Harvest Rye, Crown Royal master blender, Andrew MacKay took a different tack. Still the seamless blend that is the keystone of the Crown Royal range, this whisky prominently features one of those 50 component whiskies. It is still a blend, yes, but 90% of the whisky that goes into this blend is made almost entirely from rye grain.
Rye grain is not like most other grains. Sure, it will thrive in rich agricultural soils to yield the fine spring ryes that bakers love for making bread. However, on the extreme margins of its growing range rye becomes the remarkable whisky grain we have come to love. Here farmers must plant a different rye – rugged winter rye.
Winter rye thrives in the most arduous Canadian agricultural zones, places with climates that would kill many other crops. For instance, shortly after they sprout, late in the year, the young rye plants must endure a bitterly cold winter. Spring comes late on Canada’s Prairies and in rye-growing regions the short summer that follows is parched and desert like. The resulting grains are scrawny and twisted with very little starch in them. And though they are not suitable for baking they make the most robustly flavoured whiskies. Parts of Canada and Northern Europe are the only agricultural regions inhospitable enough to grow such flavour-packed rye. This is the grain Crown Royal uses to make its whiskies.
Still, as rich and robust as it is, Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye is a versatile whisky that reveals layers of flavour when sipped neat. On a hot summer day add several ice cubes and sip slowly in the shade of a tree or beach umbrella. Like all rye whiskies it also makes a whisky-forward cocktail. Versatile it is, and oh so scrumptious.
Very highly recommended. ★★★★★