Review: Crown Royal Cornerstone Blend Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Distiller Gimli (Gimli, Manitoba)

Crown Royal has been busy in the past few years, and doing some good work. In 2010, they introduced Crown Royal Black to add to their core lineup (notably, at 45%), they added Crown Royal XO in 2014 (though similar to Cask no. 16) and in 2015 added the terrific Northern Harvest Rye and Hand Selected Single Barrel - that's a lot more to the core lineup, without talking about all the limited editions in that time as well. What is more, they're all good whiskies. This whisky is blended from three whiskies - a bourbon style whisky (think of the Single Barrel), a sharp rye whisky (think Northern Harvest Rye), and a creamy Coffey still whisky. It is the first of an annual set of releases in what they call the "Noble Collection".

Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L6153 2S 001 13 2151SL143

  • Bottling Date: 2016

White grape and cherry on the nose- typical Crown Royal! Rich grain, with quite a bit of vegetal rye hanging in behind the corn. Vanilla, arugula, corn bread, caramelized dried apricot, a touch of mint, prunes, and spice – reminding me of morrocan stews or roasts where there is cinnamon, raisins, prunes and dried apricots in the sauce. And creamy. Terrific nose. Though it’s very complex, I’m not sure it quite comes together – the two extremes between the spicy, dry rye and the luscious corn/bourbon-style whisky aren’t quite brought into balance by the coffey still whisky.

The palate is soft, with lots of dried corn and cherries while having a dry, spicy, and vegetal underside from the rye. It showcases lots of cherry and dried apricot. And the standard arugula. Finishes in a drying fashion with oak, corn husks, vanilla, prunes, cinnamon, ginger, and clove. The dryness fades and it turns creamy and sweet. Not quite as interesting to me as Northern Harvest, or as moreish and balanced as the Single Barrel – but very nice.

It actually seems like a hybrid of Northern Harvest Rye and the Single Barrel. A lot of these Crown Royal products reminds me quite a lot of Four Roses bourbon products – I imagine lovers of that would appreciate this.

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

Value: High. This is a great whisky for the price.