Review: Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Finished in Cognac Casks
Distiller Gimli (Gimli, Manitoba)

A whisky that is now out of production, though replaced by a very similar in concept Crown Royal XO, also finished in cognac casks - cheaper, and, better, from what I have tasted. This whisky is blended from over 50 different whiskies, and is then finished in cognac casks from the limousin forest – which is French oak – a style which brings out more spiciness, dried fruit, and tannin than american oak. On top of this, you have the fruity-spicy character of the cognac which has flavoured the wood in which the whisky is placed before bottling, enabling this flavour to seep into this whisky.

The name “Cask no. 16” comes from the label stamped on the cognac barrels, indicating where the barrels came from. The whisky was discontinued in 2012, although Canada still got a good number for 2013.

Review (2013)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2012

Nose: There’s some lovely deep vanilla, and strong cognac notes which become less prominent as it sits. It’s light, and rich with a subtle spiciness - fruitcake aromas, with prominent currants and raisins, toasted oak, black pepper, thyme, and the menthol-like note you get from crushing (fresh) green cardamom seeds. There’s a very slight meaty aroma on the nose with a touch of bitterness which detracts from the nose.

Taste: This has a beautiful rich and deep vanilla sweetness carrying the whisky through the palate, with a bit of a rum-like kick. It’s light, and subtly peppery and spicy, with some green grape, light caramel, a good kick of thompson raisins, star anise, brown sugar, and some cloves. There’s even a bit of light banana and smokiness. Those raisins do certainly come out, and come through in an older tawny-port style with the caramel and wood. Light, and yet rich, as Crown Royal does so well.

Finish: Fruity, with some raisins, cinnamon, cardamom and clove. It’s not that big- but it’s very pleasant. The mouth dries out quite a bit afterward and some oak emerges – but it dries out too much for my liking.

I would be very interested to see what this whisky would taste like at 46% – it would change it quite a bit, but I think it would be more fascinating with just a bit more concentration of flavour.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low. Decent whisky, but you can do better for $100.