Canadian whisky giant Crown Royal’s newest expression just hit shelves. This second entry in their annual Noble Collection sees a particular blend of Cown Royal whiskies finished in medium toasted Cabernet Sauvignon barrels for six months. I don’t see a lot of whiskies using Cabernet casks for a secondary maturation. The only one that comes to mind is Blood Oath Pact No. 3, which was pretty good. Cabernet Sauvignon is such a full flavored wine that it can easily overpower a whisky’s character.
“We experimented with a number of different wines and oak provenances – but ultimately American oak Cabernet Sauvignon best complemented Crown Royal’s signature red fruit notes and velvety mouthfeel for a taste that both whisky and wine connoisseurs will love,” said Jim Ruane, Director of Crown Royal.
I had a small taste of this whisky a few months back, and really liked it. Fast forward three months, and I spent a little bit of time with this Canadian whisky for a more thorough tasting. The nose has those familiar Crown Royal notes of maple syrup, toasted oak and creamy vanilla. However, the wine barrel finishing adds an expected fruitiness in the form of red berries, but also gives the whisky a little more spice than usual. Think ground cinnamon. The palate follows the nose rather closely. Waves of caramel and maple syrup build as raspberry jam and baking spices begin appearing midpalate. There’s some vanilla pod that begins showing up along with a slightly drying oak. The medium finish features some sweet red fruits and oak spice.
Crown Royal Wine Barrel Finished is just as enjoyable as I remember. The blend is well balanced between a creamy caramel, sweet fruits, and oak spices. Bottled at 40.5% abv, this whisky retains the “smoothness” Crown Royal fans like with a genuinely easy-sipping but flavorful character that I think is worth exploring. Nicely done! 8/10 $60
Thanks to Crown Royal for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
I’m generally not a fan of flavored whiskey. However, I won’t pass up the chance to try one. After all, you can’t know if you dislike something until you taste it. Enter Tap 357 – a Canadian rye whisky blended with Canadian maple syrup. Here’s some info straight from the producer:
The cask-aged 3-, 5-, and 7-year old blended rye whisky used in TAP 357 is produced at the oldest distillery in Western Canada, where it is distilled four times then matured in a combination of new, second-, and third-use bourbon barrels.
TAP Whisky’s Master Blender Michel Marcil then blends these whiskies and adds pure Canada 1 Light maple syrup from the Quebec area. It’s then married for a period and bottled at 40.5%.
The nose is dominated by maple syrup, which is accentuated by notes of vanilla extract, baking spices and spice cake. Taste-wise, we’re talking maple. Lots of maple! Loads of maple! The whisky is expectedly very rich, but not cloyingly sweet. Rye spice compliments and cuts through. Creamy vanilla and oak spice add some depth. The finish features creme brulee and light maple syrup.
The maple nature of this whisky doesn’t taste artificial. Of course it doesn’t. The producers are using real maple syrup. Maple syrup is generally a note I pick up in Canadian whiskies, so it feels natural to use it to flavor the whisky. Like I mentioned earlier, Tap 357 is rich, but not cloyingly sweet. It leans strongly on the maple syrup side, but has just enough other flavors to keep things interesting. Does this mean Tap 357 is the first flavored whisky I actually like? I believe so. Nicely done! 8/10
Thanks to Tap 357 for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
I know, I know… this whisky came out last year and isn’t easy to find anymore. Better late than never, I say!
The folks at Crown Royal launched the Noble Collection last year. It’s set to be an annual limited edition bottling, changing yearly. The inaugral entry is the Cornerstone Blend. Bottled at 40%, Cornerstone Blend is made up of the three types of whiskies that make up Crown Royal Deluxe: a rye whisky, a creamy whisky distilled using Crown Royal’s Coffey Still, and a “bourbon” style whisky.
Earlier this year, I hosted a virtual tasting with Crown Royal Brand Ambassador Stephen Wilson (see video below). Cornerstone Blend was among the whiskies we tasted. It was my first time tasting the blend, and my first impression was very positive.
After spending more time with Cornerstone Blend, I’ve grown to like it even more. The nose is full of that maple quality I love about Crown Royal, but also baking spices, vanilla, red apples and charred oak. On the palate, Cornerstone Blend is less sweet than the nose suggests. Maple ice cream, rye spice, and strawberry jam lead to an oaky astringency. The medium finish leaves behind a lingering spice.
The new Noble Collection will allow blenders at Crown Royal to play around and experiment. That is evident with the second entry in the Noble Collection – a Crown Royal blend finished in wine casks. I had a chance to sample this one recently and it’s fantastic. A full review will be posted in time. In the meantime, fans of Crown Royal should pick up any bottles of Cornerstone Blend they can find as it’s a one-time release. At an SRP of $60, the whisky is fairly priced for the wonderful flavors it delivers. 8.5/10