After Japanese Whisky, Canadian Whisky might be the whisky that we in the US are most deprived of. If you read Davin De Kergommeaux's excellent blog CanadianWhisky.org, you will see reviews of all sorts of fascinating Canadian Whiskies, very few of which are available anywhere in the US. Now, Japan is one thing given the distance, but it seems silly that we can't get all of the great whisky being made just north of the world's longest undefended border. For this reason, I get very excited when I see any new Canadian product, so I was happy to review Crown Royal Black.
Diageo owned Crown Royal is, of course, the top selling Canadian Whisky in the US. The newly released Crown Royal Black is higher proof (45% vs. 40%) and was matured in charred oak barrels to give it a more bourbon-like profile.
Crown Royal Black, 45% abv ($23)
The nose on this is very bourbony with doses of corn and rye spice. The palate is less distinctly Canadian than I would expect. It does start off quite sweet, but there is some significant rye in there that emerges and grows stronger. In some ways, it does taste more like a sweet bourbon, albeit a very sweet one, than a typical Canadian Whisky. The finish has some ethanol notes. This is a very approachable whisky, and the stronger rye presence adds some depth to the usually very sweet and one-dimensional Crown Royal flavor profile. It's a pleasant drink and definitely a step up from the regular Crown. It's the type of drink I would definitely order if it started popping up in hotel, airport and other bars with limited selections.