Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

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Huge thanks to Matt for the bottle and to Christine for bringing it over. 

Before we can talk about this whisky, we need to talk about Jim Murray.

Jim Murray, for those not familiar, is one of the world’s foremost whisky writers, sort of. Jim only writes one thing and it’s his annual Whisky Bible. There are a lot of opinions about Jim in the whisky community, but generally the popular media love Jim and for them his words might as well be divine law. For the more hardcore whisky fan, not so much.

I’ve had a few editions of Jim’s Bible over the years and my main issue is a lack of consistency and sometimes notes that make no sense.This is sad because by and large I like similar things and find similar flavours and it’s always nice to have such a reference with similar tastes, but Jim’s notes are just to erratic or unclear sometimes. I mean my own notes are also like that, but I flesh them out before publishing them, and don’t charge people money to read them.

Additionally every year there’s a big media circus centered around the Jim Murray Whisky Bible release where they make a huge fanfare over the ‘Best Whisky in the World’ and a lot of people have come to suspect that the choice nowadays is more for the sake of scandal than to judge good spirits.

Anyways, the reason for the mini-rant is that this humble bottle, which a good Canadian friend so kindly gifted me because those damn Canadians keep all their best whiskies inside Canada making them a bit hard to get hold of on distant shores, was deemed the best whisky in the world in 2015. This kicked up quite a fuss because it’s a $20 supermarket blended rye from Canada and is competing with all the other spirit put out all over the world.

Popular media immediately jumped on the fact that the best whisky in the world was Canadian (like I said earlier, as far as they’re concerned Jim Murray’s opinion might as well be divine law). Regardless it put the stuff on my bucket list, just to see if it maybe is worthy of such a hefty title.

Aged 3 years*. 45%ABV. 90% Rye. 

*for lack of age statement

Nose: Banana pudding. Sticky toffee pudding. Tree sap. Dry oak. A bit of a generic candy note to it. Dried pineapple. Amaretto. Slight hint of jasmine. Vanilla. Nosing it too long leads to a slightly harsh ethanol scent.

Palate: A bit too thin feeling. A good solid helping of that woody rye spiciness here. Like almost all there is on the palate. A little bitter wood, craft resin and some more amaretto, but this bit is all about the rye spices.

Finish: Short-medium. Very spicey. General rye spice but leaning slightly more towards the cayenne pepper side of things.Camphor. Bitter wood.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 4/5

Well this was not the best whisky in the world. It’s not even the best rye or best Canadian whisky I’ve tried. It felt a little flat and lacked body and the palate and finish both lacked complexity. Don’t get me wrong, for a $20 rye it’s absolutely great, a really easy sipping whisky, it delivers all the rye spice you could want, but best in the world it is not, not even close.

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