Review: Crown Royal Regal Apple Flavored Whisky

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Crown Royal Regal Apple
Crown Royal Regal Apple

Given the amazing boom in the flavored vodka space, it’s no surprise to see spirit companies dive head first into flavored whisk(e)y. After all, early movers in this space, especially Fireball Cinnamon Flavored “Whiskey”Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, and Crown Royal Maple Finished Canadian Whisky have seen immense success in a relatively short amount of time. As a company, Diageo seems to be fully committed to releasing a torrent of flavored whiskies onto the market, including Jeremiah Weed (Spiced, Sarsaparilla, and Cinnamon) , Piehole (Pecan, Cherry, and Apple), Seagram’s 7 (Crown Orchard Apple and American Spiced), and the latest flavor from Crown Royal, Regal Apple.  It’s an unprecedented amount of flavored whiskey product, all hitting the market at the same time.

There are problems with Diageo’s newfound flavored whiskey strategy, however. Although flavored vodka did indeed create strong growth in the vodka space, that growth often came at the expense of the core unflavored product. Now that the flavored vodka craze has peaked and is clearly in decline, brands are finding that they have a nice size bite taken out of their core vodka business. For a large company like Diageo, flavored whiskey represents growth and that seems to be more important than the long term health of a brand.

Before you even get it in the glass, the big problem with Diageo putting out a “Regal” Apple flavored whiskey is that it immediately takes a premium brand and puts it in the class of their budget offerings like Piehole and Seagram’s 7. Crown Royal Apple is a bad idea no matter how you slice it. It’s odd that Diageo didn’t look to the more upscale and savory end of the flavor spectrum with ginger or clove spice. Diageo would have been even better to follow the strategy that they’ve deployed with Captain Morgan and experiment with other finishes. Unfortunately, it’s more like that the answer comes down to “apple tested well” without any real depth of thought on what Crown Royal represents as a brand.

As with everything here at Drink Spirits, it ultimately comes down to what’s in the glass:

Crown Royal Regal Apple Flavored Canadian Whisky (35% ABV / 70 proof, $24.99) – the nose is an immediate blast of apple. Although the apple note isn’t horribly artificial, it’s reads more like a candy apple than a fresh one, and it’s got a fairly sour core. Overall the apple aroma is way too much – as strong and pungent as the maple was for Crown Royal Maple Finished, but far less pleasant. The apple on the nose is so strong that it’s extremely difficult to get beyond it to the aromas of the base whiskey. The base whiskey is there, with a hint of cinnamon and oak, but you have to dig like hell through the overbearing apple to get to it.

The entry for Crown Royal Regal Apple is very sweet with the strong apple from the nose. As with the nose, the apple flavor is candied apple, far amplified, sweetened, and exaggerated from real apple flavor. Maybe dialed back to about 50% this apple would be enjoyable, but here it’s like having a candy apple shoved in your mouth.

As we get to the midpalate there’s a building level of spice, including cinnamon, clove, and oak, that tries to balance and counterpoint the apple. In the midpalate these spices come together for a nice peak, but the strong apple flavor just sits on top of all that, like a house guest who has long overstayed their welcome. The finish is strong sugar and light spice with the apple flavor that just won’t quit. It’s surprising just how long the sugar flavor lingers on the palate. It’s a real indication of just how much sugar is in this flavored whiskey.

Ultimately, there’s just no getting past the apple flavoring. It’s too strong, too sweet, and way out of balance. Crown Royal had the right idea in the midpalate with the spice level, but no amount of spice can create balance when you’ve got this much flavoring and sugar in the mix.

Unfortunately, the overblown apple flavor combined with the extreme amount of sugar make Crown Royal Regal Apple taste like the kind of spirit you’d find in a brand like Piehole, not a premium Canadian Whisky. It’s a uncommon misstep from a brand that’s been on roll. 76 points

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Points
76
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+Geoff Kleinman, is the founder, and managing editor of DrinkSpirits.com. He is a nationally recognized spirits columnist and staff reviewer for Whisky Advocate Magazine. Geoff’s work has appeared in dozens of major magazines including Playboy Magazine, Black Book, and Mixology Magazine. He is a current sitting judge for the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, the founder of the Society of Modern Journalists, holds BAR certification from the Beverage Alcohol Resource Group, is a Certified Cognac Educator, and a Kentucky Colonel

  • NJ

    Ur Crazy! This stuff is A1, especially for the holidays. And I LOVE CR Maple.

    • I assure you, I’m not crazy. Have you even tried it?

      • NJ

        A friend of mine ordered some recently and we thought it was good. Although I could be biased cause I seem to enjoy all of CR’s products.

  • Craig Best Jr.

    Your first few paragraphs mirrored what I thought when I saw the bottle the first time. I believe, though certainly hope otherwise, that their reasoning for Apple is that it “tested well”. You know the problem with that reasoning? New Coke tested well too. But Coca-Cola didn’t take into consideration the experience of drinking an entire glass or can of the product, a simple taste was very sweet and people like sweet which I’m sure is why the flavored vodka market went so strong. It make an unapproachable liquor more approachable. My hope for the best of this release is that more people, who haven’t before, approach whiskey and ideally branch out to more traditional offerings. Thanks.

  • Barry

    I sampled this over the holiday weekend. It’s not for me. I agree with the summary 100%. I disagree with the points rating. I think 76 points is a little generous. I would rate it closer to 60.

    • Thanks for your feedback. Points are a funny thing, but I think it’s important that the core of the review matched up with your experience.

      • Barry

        To be fair, I did have this after a couple of porters. I’m not CR fan so my experience may been skewed before it touched my lips. Better than the over powering maple flavored CR though.

    • John Greer

      I would say about 85, because you admitted its not for you. But others that I have had this with totally disagree, saying its a nice change from Fireball.

  • 504mask

    I love it over ice I think its target is non whisky drinkers though

    • True, but I think Jeremiah Weed and Piehole are really targeted at the non-whiskey drinkers. Crown Royal is an important brand for Diageo and they’ve given it a little bit of a black eye with this.

      • Dennis

        See my reply. This is made for college students.

  • Chaz

    It tastes like a damn jolly rancher and is the smoothest whiskey I have ever tried. I can take straight shots of this with no chasers. 2 shots gets you buzzed. I don’t see how you can hate.

    • Because good flavored whisky doesn’t taste like candy. It tastes like whisky!

      • Young Scoot

        The whisky part is disgusting anyway! If u want plain whisky taste than just drink plain whisky, lol let them experiment with the flavors and stop being such a picky alcoholic brat!

      • Harold F. Broyles

        Well you’re just plain ignorant!!!

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  • John Retzlaff

    And here I thought it was going to be something like calvedos

  • Dennis

    First of all, you have to think about the #1 shot produced with crown, the “Washington Apple” Constituted by Crown Royal, APPLE pucker, and cranberry. That is a three step process. With the introduction of Regal Apple, the process is streamlined and now what originally took 3 steps now only takes 2. I believe that the aim here was to introduce the product to a younger and younger crowd, not so much for appreciation of the people who already enjoy Crown. This is not supposed to be consumed solely unless you like over-pungent apple. The purpose is to provide enough flavor that when mixed with cranberry it is consistent with the flavor of the very well established shot. Also, I am a bartender, have been for close to a decade now. Take it from me, I also love all Crown.

    • JimmyBoomBots

      I agreed with the review fully, but also hadn’t considered your point. When you think about what this whiskey is instead of what it isn’t, it seems obvious it was made for bartenders or as a single-purpose bottle for consumers.
      I still don’t understand some of the other replies here though; “It’s great because it’s whiskey for people that don’t like whisky!”. Then why not buy…not whiskey?
      I know this is an old discussion, but I just picked up this spirit for the first time since it was on sale, and feel compelled to enter my $0.02.

      • Dennis

        Good stuff @JimmyBoomBots:disqus.

        A year later we have a bottle in every cooler. All I use it for are straight shots, washington apples, and mixed with cranberry on the rocks.

        Still damn good and time saving!

    • Dennis

      @drinkspirits, wanna start this convo again?

  • Bridget

    I find this a great whiskey for females….mixed with Sprite Zero……..it’s very nice! I think it will be a hit among ladies more so than men.

  • Young Scoot

    So true. I don’t like the overpowering taste of the whisky, it causes me to have reflux problems such as if it’s too strong I accidentally end up throwing it up, but with Crown products it’s just the perfect drink to get drunk (a lil buzz).

  • Taryn Null

    Crown is finally making a drink that women can enjoy …..this is the BEST whiskey on the market. I just tried it last night, mixed with apple juice…..MY FAVORITE DRINK EVER!!! If you want the taste of whiskey, stick with Crown Black or Regular. If you are looking for a fruity drink, this is the one!!!!!

    • I’d never gender a spirit, as some women don’t like sweet drinks, but I think things like Mr. Katz’s Rock & Rye or Virgil Kane’s Ginger Whiskey do the job of providing a sweeter, more flavorful experience with more true flavors.

  • Mike

    Hello. Just bought this for the first time and thought”wow” crown with apple. Well crown is good and apples are good so this must be great….not really. Did shots with it warm and it was close to unbearable with how sweet it was but ice cold it actually has proved to be a semi bearable drink. All and all it would be good for mixed drinks but not alone,.

  • Wasn’t a fan of Maple really, and but Apple works pretty good both by itself or with an easy mixer like cranberry

  • Tomas Olchove

    I liked it. And for even more apple flavour I mixed it with apple juice just like I used to do with my wisers back in the day. Way smoother tasting for me. But i like the girly drink type drinks.

  • Kevlito

    I just tried CR Apple. It’s aroma is reminiscent of nail polish remover, suggesting a strong artificial apple flavor. CR is my favorite whisky and I was therefore disappointed with this product. It has a lower alcohol content then whisky and it’s more of a liqueur than a whisky. I’ll go back to the original. In my opinion, they shouldn’t mess with a good thing.

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  • Derek Krasnodebski

    its the most disgusting alcohol i ve ever tasted , i could not swallow it
    people who came up with the idea should be hanged

  • Ha, maybe for the first tasters of whiskey ever?