Review: Crown Royal XR

crownby James Davidson

Gregor Cattanach the Senior National Master of Whisky (a title I’d love to hold) for Diageo was giving a presentation Monday night at the Sigels Elite on Fitzhugh about Crown Royal and it’s varying expressions.  It cost $30 and was worth every penny.  Below are my impressions of the Crown Royal line up.

Crown Royal Deluxe taste like whiskey (Surprise!).  After rolling the dram around in my mouth, other flavors did come to light: sweet, caramel and mixed spice.  It wasn’t a bad experience, but it didn’t blow my mind.  Crown is walking a fine line between subtle and boring.  I haven’t decided which side of that line it’s on yet.  

Time to go to Castle Black… I mean drink Crown Black.  Edger likened the expression to bourbon.  While it did feel somewhat like Bourbon with it’s higher proof, the taste profile was very much Canadian whiskey with heavier wood notes with a touch of ash.  With a long and oil finish, this whiskey is for those that like Crown Royal, but something a little dirtier and robust.

On the opposite end of the spectrum would be Crown Royal Reserve.  At first, the whiskey smells and tastes like the original Crown Royal with a finish that is almost buttery.  After several more sips, the buttery flavors built up and grows more present.  Creamy and buttery keep popping up in my mind whilst I drink it.  If you like chardonnay, this may be the whiskey for you.

We finally get to the expression I’ve been waiting to taste: Crown Royal XO.  After blending the whiskey, the spirit is put into Cognac barrels for about 3 months for finishing.  The nose is fruity and reminds me of Armagnac.  The drink starts out sweet with the fruity taste coming in abruptly.  Mixed spice plays among the fruit and sweetness of the dram.   I found myself wanting to drink this more and more just to figure out all the flavors.  It was very pleasant and inviting.

Now it’s time to taste the expression that everyone else was waiting to taste: Crown Royal XR.  This blend is comprised of whiskey produced at the LaSalle distillery that closed down in 1993.  If you want a dessert whiskey, this isn’t a bad choice.  Caramel notes are very forward and a long finish.  It would be easy to enjoy over a long period after a nice dinner.

Crown Royal may not have won me over from my other whiskeys tonight, but it did show me that it’s does have something to offer besides an additive to Coke.  A bottle of Crown Royal XO made it’s way home with me, I have a soft spot for Cognac finished spirits.



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2 responses to “Review: Crown Royal XR

  1. Bill

    Nice review James

  2. Garlen Ray

    I am a regular user of Crown Royal, for the first time in 15 yrs, I bought a pint of Crown Royal and as usual I keep it in the freezer, this was mushy ice when I decided to have a shot, something is not right. Do you have any comment.

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