Reviews

Review: Crown Royal Blenders’ Mash Blended Canadian Whisky

img_0642
Crown Royal’s latest release, Blenders’ Mash, might be its most controversial. Here’s the short version of the story: When it first hit shelves, the name on the label was Crown Royal Bourbon Mash. The name stemmed from what Crown Royal distillers and blenders internally called the bourbon-like mash bill of this whisky. Apparently that’s a big no-no here in the United States, where a whisky made outside of the country cannot use the word ‘bourbon’ on its label to describe it. The “Bourbon Mash” label was already TTB approved, but the government agency reversed its decision, causing Diageo, Crown Royal’s owner, to change the name to Blenders’ Mash.

Don’t let the label controversy detract from what’s inside the bottle.

This release kicks off the Crown Royal Blenders’ Series, which focuses on, er, blending. Produced at the Crown Royal distillery in Gimli, Blenders’ Mash features a blend of bourbon-like, corn-heavy whiskies aged in new and used oak barrels. It’s bottled at 40% ABV and available on shelves for about $28.

The nose is a bit subdued but nonetheless quite nice, featuring hints of vanilla pod, kettle corn, cinnamon toast, and a touch of toasted oak. The entry here is smooth, for lack of a better word. That rich and sweet profile Crown Royal is known for can be found here in spades, with hints of maple syrup and creamy vanilla leading the way. A bit of spiced green apples and sandalwood soon follows. The finish is rather clean, with notes of sweet caramel corn.

In terms of flavor, Blenders’ Mash sits perfectly in a world between Crown Royal and a standard bourbon, carrying over the “smoothness” the Canadian whisky is famous for. In other words, folks who like their bourbon without the bite would enjoy this whisky. However, don’t conflate “smooth” with “lack of character.” Blenders’ Mash is an enjoyable pour, one I don’t have to think too much about while drinking it. Recommended! 8/10

Crownroyal.com

Thanks to Crown Royal for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Be sure to follow Adventures In Whiskey on social media for more content.

IG_Glyph_Fill flogo_RGB_HEX-512 Twitter_Logo_WhiteOnBlue

Advertisements

Review: Ardbeg Grooves Committee Release Single Malt Whisky

Ardbeg’s Grooves is the company’s limited edition release for 2018.  Though the 60’s flower power is in full effect in name and label, Grooves is named after the grooves left in the barrels staves after heavy charring.  Those barrels, ex-wine casks, only make up a portion of this expression.  The rest, I’m assuming, is made up of ex-bourbon casks.

We’re looking at the Committee Release, which is a higher proof version available in much smaller numbers compared to the general release.  In this case, Grooves comes in at 51.6% ABV and is available in very limited numbers for about $120.

On the nose, familiar Ardbeg characteristics are here in full force: smoked meat, earthiness, and some iodine.  Notes from the wine casks join in the melody, providing a sweet and fruity counterbalance.  The palate follows the nose, with sun-baked tobacco leaf and campfire smoke hitting your tongue first, followed by a wave of sweet berries, stewed apricots, spice and a slightly savory character.  Every now and then I can pick out a tinge of vanilla.  A bit more spice and toasted oak appear on the back palate and into the long, warming finish.  Hints of coal, candied ginger, fruity sweetness and burnt orange peel linger.

Fruit and smoke is one of my favorite flavor combinations in whisky, and Ardbeg Grooves fits right in. Though I really enjoy it, my wife didn’t, and prefers the more straightforward profile of Ardbeg 10-year-old. The standard release of Grooves should be hitting shelves soon. While I’d suggest scooping up that expression, if you happen to see the Committee Release, don’t hesitate. You’ll certainly be taken on a groovy journey. 9/10

Be sure to follow Adventures In Whiskey on social media for more whisky content.

IG_Glyph_Fill flogo_RGB_HEX-512 Twitter_Logo_WhiteOnBlue

Review: Ardbeg Corryvreckan Single Malt Whisky

At the top of Ardbeg’s core range sits the high proof Corryvreckan, named after the large whirlpool north of Islay. There’s not a lot of info available on this expression, but it is rumored that Corryvreckan is a blend of first fill and refill ex-bourbon and French oak casks. The whisky is a big one, bottled at a hearty 57.1% ABV.

On the nose, hints of sweet smoke hit first, followed closely by freshly ground black pepper, baking spice, and some tropical fruit (grilled pineapple). Taste-wise, Corryvreckan is very rich. Honey kicks things off, followed by cocoa and smoked meat. A smoked, black peppercorn-rubbed brisket, to be exact! Grilled pineapple adds a little sweetness and crispness. Cloves and a little leather show up on the back-palate. The finish is long, sweet and smoky.

Corryvreckan is damn satisfying! It’s an intense drinking experience. The only comparison I can make is its similarity to Booker’s bourbon in terms of intensity of delivery. Rich, complex, and about as balanced as an Ardbeg can be. Recommended! 9/10

Ardbeg.com

Thanks to Ardbeg for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Be sure to follow Adventures In Whiskey on social media for more content.

IG_Glyph_Fill flogo_RGB_HEX-512 Twitter_Logo_WhiteOnBlue