Review: Crown Royal Blender's Select Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Crown Royal Blenders Select (2).jpg
7-9 Yrs; Charred Virgin Oak
64% Corn, 31.5% Rye, 4.5% Malted Barley
Distiller Gimli (Gimli, Manitoba)

An Ontario exclusive, with 5000 cases produced (so probably 20,000 or 30,000 bottles). It was made from Crown Royal's highly esteemed Coffey Rye - a bourbon style whisky made in a coffey still (one of 5 types of distillates produced at crown royal). Largely, it's the heart of Crown Royal - you can see it throughout Crown Royal's blends. It is seen in the Hand Selected Barrel, but not elsewhere - directly. It's only made once a year, over a 5 week period, because so much tuning has to be done to get the luscious spirit just right - so once they have it right, they go with it and produce their yearly demand.

To craft this whisky, Crown Royal master blender Mark Balkenende combined 7 and 9 year old whiskies. The 9 year old whisky was added to the 7 to give more structure and offset some of the sweetness, which was my worry when I saw a coffey rye product at 45%. Matured in new oak.

Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: 1327A51232

  • Bottling Date: 2017

The nose is elegant, rich, and oaky – butterscotch, banana cream pie, toffee, nutmeg, clove, corn oil, and cream. What a magnificent dessert whisky. The nose is ever so expressive, from the first nose to the empty glass. Very similar, as might be expected, to Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel – depending on the barrel, of course, but this is spicier and broader on the nose than most single barrels I’ve tasted (as it is a batch, not a single barrel, the broadness might be expected). The palate has light oak, coconut, butterscotch, bannoffee pie, and finishing with tannins and drying spice. Really nice – I like the oak, and not as sweet as I feared – but, still, in my opinion – this whisky shines at a higher proof like my beloved hand selected barrel. Still, this is wonderful...

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High. For my “highly recommended” whiskies, $55 is pretty good!