Crown Royal has gone into the single barrel business. Initially introduced in Texas, Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel is now widely available, so long as a store near you buys a barrel. Obviously being a single barrel, this is not a blend. This is Coffey Rye whisky, one of the principal components of Crown Royal. It’s rye whisky distilled in a coffey still (a type of column still) at Diageo’s Gimli distillery. Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel is bottled at a healthy 51.5%abv, or 103 proof.
(Note: I was sent a small review sample by Diageo.) The first thing that jumps out on the nose is butterscotch and fresh fruit like banana and pineapple. I also get some oats, slight rye grain and a hint of vanilla. The medium bodied whisky tastes of toffee, sweet rye grain, banana, pear, and some cinnamon spice. The long finish is a combo of cinnamon, sweet toffee and rye grain.
I didn’t know what to expect from this whisky. The standard Crown Royal to me is a bit bland. This Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel Canadian whisky can be called lots of things, but bland isn’t one of them. It’s rich, sweet, spicy and fruity. A solid, tasty whisky. A bottle carries a suggested retail price of $54.99.