Review: Crown Royal Winter Wheat Blended Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

51% wheat, 39% corn, 10% Malted Barley
Distiller Gimli (Gimli, Manitoba)

This limited release - the sixth expression of the noble collection - draws inspiration from the buttery quality of winter wheat. Beyond that, there isn’t a lot to say about this whisky other than that this mashbill (focused on wheat) isn’t any of Crown Royal’s standard spirit streams - so it really is unique. Most wheat whiskies lack a few things, can be a bit soft, and leave some others to be desired. Not this one:

Review (2021)

  • Batch: Winter Wheat (Sixth Release of the Noble Collection)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2021

What terrific complexity! At the first nose, you know this is gonna be good. Sweet, old oak, dried apricot, prunes, banana bread, sweet wheat, stewed peaches, white grape, and an incredible spicy richness. A candied nut character, too. The grain is there too – terrific – clean, foundational, and rich – and yet, there is a really bright, elegant corn character that comes out in some of crown royal’s batch base light corn whiskies. A lot more oak than you usually see in a Crown Royal. Just marvelous – bright fruity notes and spices on top, an incredible richness of dry fruit and oak in the middle, and a really nice grain foundation.

The palate doesn’t disappoint. Bright fruit, toffee, rich dried fruit, spice, and oak. You have the nose, but it’s textured terrifically with a good force of flavour and light threads of oak tannin. There is a good sense of umami. Big, long finish – dried stone fruit, sweet grain, tobacco, vanilla, and oak.

Often, wheat whiskies often leave the drinker desiring something more. This isn’t that - this has been the most excited I’ve been about a whisky in some time.

Also, it’s incredible sumptuous beyond the view of just a critic. It not only slows you down with all its complexity, but it leaves you with a craving for a bit more every time you finish a dram. I love it. One of my top Canadian whiskies, ever (in my top 12!).

Exceptional (3% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date receive this, my highest recommendation). Complexity, balance, length, movement - it’s all there.

Value: Very High. This is a great whisky for the price. Even at $100, it’s hard to find a whisky of this quality at that price.