Review: Crown Royal Monarch Canadian Whisky (75th Anniversary Edition) / by Jason Hambrey

Distiller Gimli (Gimli, Manitoba)

Crown Royal started out of a blend created in 1939 for the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. We are now 75 years from that point, and this limited bottling was produced to commemorate the 75th anniversary. It comes complete with a batch and bottling number certificate. This whisky is past production now - but you likely can still find it in a few places.

The core of this whisky is crafted in a “coffey” still, which, at the Crown Royal plant in Gimli manitoba is a copper kettle and column still – the liquid to be distilled is collected in a receiver which heats it before it enters the column still, and a cut is still collected – that is, only part of the distillation is actually used to put into barrels.

Review (2014)

  • Batch: 0060 (bottle U84X8)
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2014

Nose: Rich and complex, as one can often expect from special Crown Royal releases. Dark caramel, light orange, pineapple, plum jam, dried apricot, light cola and root beer notes, and a light, creamy elegance which smells as if its contributed through corn. There’s also some fresh orange – and a bit of dusty rye does indeed come out. Vanilla starts to emerge with time. along with some oak and hints of oaky earthiness. A fair bit is going on, but, frankly, the cola and root beer notes seem to detract a bit from it all for me – they just seem a bit “cheaper” than the rest of the nose.

Taste: Very thick, and showing some decent caramel and oak. It’s quite full and creamy in feel, with some interesting rye – both the candied rye notes of straight ryes and the grassy and sharp rye notes too. At times there is a touch of bitterness, as if some slightly over-oaked whisky has been blended in this – and sometimes this drifts a little into the finish. It’s very rich, and I quite enjoy the flavour integration in this – but sometimes I think it is a bit underpowered – I think you could still get much of the same elegance and creaminess with a bit more ABV. There’s a bit of spice that drifts in towards the finish – some clove, and a bit of nutmeg. It’s well balanced, and it goes down quite easily.

Finish: The development from the taste continues, and the feel is fantastic – creamy indeed. Light oak, caramel, orange, corn, grapefruit peel, and some cinnamon and clove are all present. It has a bit of a zesty feel to it after time, and slowly seems to “cleanse” your mouth leaving it to feel quite fresh. The quality is very nice of this, but it is too short, despite the nice corn that lingers for some time.

This whisky has some incredible elements to it, but a few things that detract, unfortunately – strands of oaky bitterness on the palate and some detracting elements on the nose.

Score: 87/100

Value: 71/100 (based on $75)

Review (2016)

  • Batch: 0006 (bottle Z18S4)
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2014

This is a sample I received thanks to a friend who writes a very interesting and informative site - whisky analysis (check it out). As there have been some rave reviews of Monarch, I was interested in another batch. Here we go:

The oils are interesting – a bit more prominent than I often find in Crown Royals. Creamy, and lightly spicy – with some white grape lifting up the nose as Crown Royal so often does so well. The spice is a bit like a mixed bag of pickling spice- but not a fresh, vibrant spice but more a bag of pickling spice that has sat in the cupboard for a few years. That’s not to say it’s “stale” though. A good balance of oak in the mix, too, and some fresh peaches, and some tinned too…but we still have the grains - a bit malty.

On the palate, a big bourbon kick with some spice riding on top before some more fresh peach and dried apricot, with cinnamon, clove, raisins, coconut, and oak taking the finale. Warming, too, nicely. After some time, sugary sweet and caramel on the finish.

It’s very crown royal – much like the standard blend, but bigger, and more complex. This seems a more suitable ode to Crown Royal than batch 60.

Score: 88/100

Value: 76/100 (based on $75)