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Megawatt
01-16-2011, 07:15
A little while ago I did a head-to-head of two markedly different bottlings of Crown Royal. For those interested, here are the results.



I have in front of me two bottles of Crown Royal, both Christmas gifts. One is the standard Deluxe edition, the familiar bottle adorning countless liquor cabinet shelves across the continent. The other is Cask No. 16, an ultra-premium edition finished in cognac casks. It is unclear from the company literature whether there is any difference between the composition or age of the blends, or if the cask finish is the only distinguishing feature, aside from price. Deluxe sells for $28.95 whereas Cask No. 16 commands the unlikely price of $99.95.

Nose

Straight from the bottle the differences in aroma are immediately apparent. Deluxe is light, woody, leafy, sweet, and spirity. By contrast Cask 16 is rich, dark, sugary. The more obvious rye notes have been muted in Cask 16. The unmistakeable Crown Royal profile is still present, but less dominant.

Taste

Deluxe comes across the palate sweet and minty. There is a distinct herbaceous element, almost agave-like, along with the more typical Canadian caramel notes. Mid-palate it becomes slightly oaky. The finish is rather short.

Cask 16 takes a more supple, subtle approach. One notices the silky body before any of the flavours. The leafy rye notes have all but vanished. After a couple of seconds a very dry fruitiness develops, and persists into the lengthy finish. Iím reminded somewhat of the dry fruit and nut character of Forty Creek. The brown sugar notes from the bottle are much less evident in the mouth. This whisky seems to need some time in the glass to reach its potential. The whole thing is a very subtle, elegant affair.

Body

Both whiskies fall into the medium-bodied range though Cask 16 is considerable thicker and heavier in the mouth.

Finish

Deluxe is front-loaded and short on the finish whereas Cask 16 is much the opposite; it takes more time to develop and the finish is where it shines. The dry raisin, brown sugar and gingerbread notes in the finish are very pleasant and well-balanced.

Impressions

Given time, Cask 16 shows its pedigree. I underestimated it at first. Give it a swirl to coat the glass and then sniff it after a few seconds; gentle spice, sugar, and dried fruit waft up to greet you. Likewise the flavour becomes more assertive after some minutes in the glass. This is Crown Royal at its most luxurious, if not most complex.

Deluxe seems to display more obvious rye and, strangely, oak elements in its composition. It is quite soft itself on the palate and really doesnít give up much to its more expensive brother. In fact the differences between these whiskies are much less than one might expect, given the price difference of over $70. It is not nearly as significant, for instance, as the difference between Gibsonís Sterling and Gibsonís Finest Rare, or Alberta Premium and the Limited Edition bottling. Nevertheless, the differences are present and undeniable. After drinking Cask 16, Deluxe seems to have no finish whatsoever. The dried fruit element is also sorely missed. Deluxe also comes across far more spirity, with more obvious alcohol. It is, in any case, a top-quality blend. Mass produced it may be but put it up against any basic blended whisky and I think it fares quite well.

To conclude, Cask No. 16 might not knock your socks off, especially when taking price into account, but it certainly rewards patience. Canadian whisky is a subtle spirit to begin with, and one must keep that in mind when judging the quality of one as silky as this.

PAspirit1
01-16-2011, 08:02
That's nice work, Megawatt. To me the regular Crown Royal had a nice nutty taste. I'd love to get a sampler of all of the CR's.

Megawatt
01-16-2011, 11:37
That's nice work, Megawatt. To me the regular Crown Royal had a nice nutty taste. I'd love to get a sampler of all of the CR's.

I'm surprised they haven't put such a sampler together already.

cigarnv
01-29-2011, 21:03
The Cask 16 is quite nice but as mentioned above a bit pricey. If in fact it was named for the DSP-16 whiskey that may have gone into it one can understand why the flavor is appealing to many who don't otherwise pay much attention to the CR expressions.....

Gillman
01-30-2011, 06:23
That's interesting about the 16 theory, I had never heard that. I must say I didn't take much to Crown 16, if it does contain some old SW whiskey I don't think it's that apparent. Something about the taste of Crown 16 didn't hit me right, as if neither fish nor fowl. There was a perfumed, orange-like note that seemed unusual. Anyway, just my taste..

Gary

Megawatt
01-30-2011, 07:15
I found the addition of a small amount of water went a long wa in opening up some of the bigger aromas of this whisky.

Parkersback
01-30-2011, 09:04
This whiskey continues to have the widest variation in price I have ever seen. In NYC, and elsewhere, I still am seeing 750's of it for both $99.99 and $29.99.

Cigarnv, where'd you hear about the connection to DSP 16?

whskylvr
01-30-2011, 13:55
Crown Cask 16 - The 16 came from the postal code of Cognac, France which is 16. It has that dried fruit kinda taste like an older Cognac as it was aged in used Cognac barrels.

They discontinued the .375 and 1.0 versions and now only produce the .750.