Friday, May 18, 2012

Thursday Tasting 5/17 Crown Royal

The spirit for today's Thursday tasting is Canadian Whiskey Crown Royal. I asked Pete to describe to me where Crown Royal compares to other Canadian Whiskeys. He said that it is a smoother version of Seagram's 7, Seagram's VO and Canadian Club. Since I don't have a frame of reference, I'm just going to take his word for it. The only experience I have with Crown Royal is when I've use it to make a Washington Apple shot or mixed it in a Crown Royal and coke.

Crown Royal was created in 1939 to celebrate the visit of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of England to Canada. The visit was the first time a ruling British monarch visited North America. Crown Royal is a blended rye whiskey. According to the article A Regal Tradition: The Story of Crown Royal on the City of Waterloo, Ontario Canada website:
The production of Crown Royal required the skilful combination of a selection of aged rye whiskies. Due to its flavour complexity, it was one of the Seagram Company's most difficult whiskies to blend, and Master Blenders had to work to a standard that ensured uniformity and continuity of flavour that was distinctly Crown Royal.

In blending Crown Royal, different types of whiskies of various flavours and characteristics were mixed together to such a degree that no one flavour component was identifiable. Originally, up to forty different whiskies were used in the blending formula for Crown Royal with the youngest whisky being ten years old. The formula for Crown Royal was altered in 1950, changing the oldest whisky from a thirty-five year old to a thirty-year old rye whisky and the youngest from a ten to a nine-year old. Shortly thereafter, information on the age of the whiskies contained in Crown Royal was removed from the back bottle label, only to briefly reappear from 1970-1976 to announce that the youngest whisky had reverted back to a ten-year old. Rising inventory costs eventually led to the further reduction in the age of the oldest whisky used and Crown Royal began to be marketed as a ten-year old whisky.

According to Seagram Master Blenders, the blending formula for Crown Royal created a whisky that had depth of flavour, a rich texture and a balanced weight.

But what about the distinctive purple bag the Crown Royal is packed in. How did that come to be. According to the The Society of the Crown website:
(For the visit of the British Monarchs to Canada in 1939) Seagram's Chairman Samuel Bronfman developed a unique whisky of refined smoothness for the occasion. But he needed something to present this crown jewel in. Something regal. Something luxurious. It was decided this special whisky would be housed in a velvet bag of purple — since ancient times the color reserved for royalty — with drawstrings of gold.

So knowing how it came to be, how its made, and how it's dressed next the question is: What does it taste like. According to the Crown Royal website:
Being a blended whiskey, fifty distinct and full-bodied whiskies mature in white oak barrels. Crown Royal has a taste profile defined by smoothness, enhanced by a rich, lingering finish.
Let's see if that statement is accurate.

As with the prior tastings, I have a few fingers worth of the Crown Royal whiskey with two or three rocks to give it a little chill and a glass of water on the side. The whiskey smells sweet with a very faint smoky aroma to it. At first sip, I find that it is very smooth though after swishing it around in my mouth, I find that the insides of my lips feel a bit tingly then numb. My mouth actually feels very fresh, as if I was breathing in air after having a few mints in my mouth. Now mind you, I'm not saying that the whiskey leaves a minty taste in my mouth, it just leaves a similar sensation. I also feel that it has a slight caramel-like taste to it. I try to see if I can notice any other flavor notes but nothing else comes to mind. Crown Royal is smooth as it heads down my throat and settles warmly in my stomach.

I have to say that I like it. I conpletely agree with the statement made on the company website. I think I would especially like it on a cold winter's night sitting around a roaring fire among friends. Yeah, that sounds real nice.

Oh, and since I referenced the Crown Royal Washington Apple way up there in the beginning, here is the recipe for it:
Washington Apple
1 5oz. Crown Royal
.5oz Apple Schnapps
2-3 oz.Cranberry Juice

Combine in a shaker, shake it up and pour over ice. Garnish with an apple slice.
Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla