Last week we got to try Crown Royal’s newest instalment in its Extra Rare Whisky Series. At $129.99 for a 750 ml bottle, this is the most expensive of the Crown Royal brand, and based on our tasting it is also the best and well worth the price. The new whiskey is the second in Crown Royal’s Extra Rare (XR) line and is the next step in the brand’s expansion in the high-end whiskey market. While Crown Royal often finds its way into mixed drinks, the new XR is ideally enjoyed on its own or with a little ice and maybe a dash of water.
The new whiskey was handcrafted by Crown Royal Master Blender Andrew MacKay and holds special significance for him personally. The blend includes whiskies from the famous LaSalle Distillery, and as he explained, “LaSalle holds a historic place in the whiskey world and is incredible special to me, because it’s where I first learned about creating memorable blends.”
We got to meet with MacKay at a Crown Royal sponsored media luncheon and he knows his whiskey. During the conversation he recounted an experience where he had to identify one whiskey out of 30 in a blind taste test. He said it took a little time, but eventually he honed it– the smell was key.
The distillery is also an important place in the history of the brand, it was the first distillery opened by the Bronfman family – the family which created the original Crown Royal in 1939 to commemorate a visit to Canada by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
The bottle comes in a luxurious deep blue box and a soft blue case.
The new Crown Royal XR will be a bit of a change for those who favour cheaper whiskies and mixed drinks, but it could open the brand to greater appreciation by more sophisticated whiskey drinkers. Johnny Walker, another Diageo brand, certainly has claimed its place among high-end Scotch whiskey blends with its Green, Gold, and Blue Labels and the newest XR could help Crown Royal do the same in the Canadian whiskey market.
The back of the box tells the story of the whiskey, with a special note from Master Whiskey Blender Andrew MacKay:
[Disclosure: We tasted the whiskey at a Crown Royal sponsored media luncheon, no other compensation was offered or received]
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