Published on March 19th, 2015 | by0
Crown Royal XO
Initial Thoughts – The Bag:
There is no other packaging as iconic as Crown Royal in my mind! Maker’s Mark red wax tops come close but still second. It’s always amazed me that someone thought of putting whisky in a bag for packaging/marketing sake. I guarantee someone called them crazy and they did it anyways. Good for them! I still remember one of my friends in college collecting spare change in his Crown Royal purple bag for meters, laundry etc. I don’t know if that’s what the company had in mind but hey it proved useful to him long after the whisky was consumed.
Before procuring Crown Royal XO, I was aware that it would come in a gray bag. When I was able to inspect the packaging for myself I found that the grey bag was pretty darn sexy. It had the gold stitching just like the original but the grey fit my color palate much better. I’m not too far out there with my color selection in my own wardrobe so the grey was much more my speed. The bottle, within the bag, came in a very nice box. The bottle itself is very pleasant with a gold screw top which seems well made and has nice weight to it. All of this packaging is setting the mood for the experience of tasting this premium Blended Canadian Whisky. I know some people are not fans of fancy packaging and I’m not always on board if it doesn’t fit with the branding but given Crown Royal’s history this all fits in perfectly.
Background Information on Crown Royal:
Crown Royal is making an extraordinary craft addition to its product line with the introduction of Crown Royal XO, an ultra-premium blended Canadian Whisky, handcrafted by Crown Royal Master Blender Andrew MacKay. The unique blend of more than 50 of Crown Royal’s finest whiskies is finished in cognac casks from the French Limousin Forest, resulting in a complex expression of the signature blend. Due to the brand’s great craftsmanship and history – the whisky was originally created to commemorate a grand tour of Canada made by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain in 1939 – Crown Royal has often been referred to as a noble spirit. MacKay pays homage to this distinguished tradition with his handcrafted approach to creating the Crown Royal XO blend. Crown Royal Canadian Whisky is the number one selling Canadian Whisky brand in the US by value and has a tradition as long and distinctive as its taste. “The ultra-premium nature of Crown Royal XO and the smoothness of the liquid can be attributed to the handcrafted approach we took while creating the unique blend,” said MacKay. “We’re looking forward to sharing this special blend with adults across the country and encourage them to incorporate it into their celebrations of extraordinary moments and events.”
I can’t say that I drink Canadian Whisky on a frequent basis but it’s not something that I avoid. I was very excited to taste Crown Royal XO especially with the NEAT glassware I had recently begun using. While I was taking pictures of the packaging I poured an ounce and a half in my NEAT glass and let it sit for about 20-25 minutes. The nose is very light, especially in the NEAT glass. There’s nothing heavy handed that strikes a first blow. The most obvious aromas are maple, green apple, honey and vanilla. It’s a very pleasant sweet and fruity aroma. As I dug in to locate other aromas raisin become very apparent because I had stubbornly searched for exactly what the tart, sweet note was. I also noted black tea, cinnamon, caramel, botanicals and sugar cane. The overall aroma made me think of early spring when we’ve gotten lots of rain and every plant is blossoming in our backyard, minus the allergies of course. If you’ve been keeping track, this whisky has a lot going on. I’m sure the mixing of more than 50 whiskies has a lot to do with it but I enjoyed myself nosing this whisky. I legitimately spent almost 15 minutes locating different aromas since there was so much to discover.
Taste & Texture:
I was certainly ready to sample this whisky after all the awesome aromas. The initial taste is very hearty and rich which was a nice surprise since the aroma was more delicate. There was also a good heat in the throat which I never turn down, one of my favorite qualities of whisky. Maple, vanilla, green apple, honey and caramel were all very pleasant. A nice mint and light peppercorn began to surface as well. Other notes were leather, cocoa, black tea, sugar cane, and floral. The taste had a great build and while it lingered the flavors became more prevalent and complex.
The texture was more like maple syrup than leather but both qualities coexisted. The sweet notes really lingered. This whisky made me feel like how I idealize the Canadian experience. I’ll give you a little backstory. I watch a lot of food shows. These food shows comprise more than half of my TV viewership. On several different shows, there has been this duo from Montreal. They have this little restaurant you may have heard of, Joe Beef. I really should have put that in all caps. At any rate, if you’ve seen them on TV, on an Anthony Bourdain show, or you’ve been fortunate enough to eat there you know what I’m getting at. These dudes cook and eat in an over the top way. There’s a ton of delicious meat, a cozy dining location, the best booze and truffles that they keep in their back pockets presumably. When someone says the word “Canada” this is where I transport to. One of my bucket list items is dining with these guys and I might have to add Crown Royal XO to the list of things to consume. I’d be sitting in their cozy restaurant, sunken in the chair from a food coma with a DOF glass of Crown Royal XO.
From the warm, rich, mouth coating texture and taste of this whisky I’m left feeling very content. If you’re a fan of night caps, stock up. Crown Royal XO is warm, welcoming and there’s nothing to not like. This whisky would go great with cigars as well. Specifically a medium bodied cigar with spice and earth notes to blend with the sweeter notes of this whisky. Crown Royal XO is sophisticated, hospitable and approachable. It’s special and yet another whisky for Canadians to be proud of.
The Noble Highball
– In a highball glass over ice combine:
– 1.5 oz Crown Royal XO
– 4 dashes of bitters
– Top with ginger beer. Garnish with twist of lemon.
The Royal Monarch
– In a mixing glass combine:
– 1 oz Crown Royal XO
– .75 oz sweet vermouth
– .235 oz maraschino liqueur
– .25 oz herbal liqueur (Benedectine)
– Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist.
– In a cocktail shaker, combine:
– 1 oz Crown Royal XO
– .75 oz Amaretto
– .75 oz lemon juice
– 1 oz simple syrup
– 2 dashes of bitters
– Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with lemon wheel.