In 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth made the journey from the UK to Canada and in doing so became the first reigning monarchs to travel to North America. Crown Royal was created to commemorate this royal visit and was prepared as a gift for the royal family (which is why you’ll always find Crown Royal wrapped in some sort of regal color fabric bag). Flash forward seventy five years and Crown Royal has become the king of Canadian whiskies, and one of the top whiskies sold in North America. It’s quite a journey for one of Canada’s most iconic spirits.
To celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the brand (and the royal visit), Crown Royal is releasing Crown Royal Monarch 75th Anniversary Blend. This special blend of whiskies comes without an age statement and includes spirit produced by the company’s Coffey rye still in Gimli, Manitoba, Canada. Unlike the traditional Crown Royal release, Crown Royal Monarch 75th Anniversary Blend is enclosed in a special silver embroidered bag in a magnetically enclosed golden box. It’s nice packaging that fits right in with Crown Royal’s previous special releases.
Crown Royal Monarch 75th Anniversary Blend Canadian Whisky (80 Proof / 40% ABV, $75) – although there’s no age statement on this blend, oak is predominant on the nose, the deep weathered kind of oak which is indicative of some of the whisky spending some serious time in barrel. The nose manages to balance this strong oak well with an undercurrent of lightly sweet caramel and a touch of rye spice. This presentation of old oak so expertly balanced is exceptional. The nose of this whisky is aromatic but light, dry, and wonderfully inviting.
The entry is light but flavorful – the oak is there and it’s solid but not overwhelming. Along with the oak is dried fruit, light caramel, cinnamon, and rye spice. All of these elements come together well with good flavor and a sense of delicacy. Things build slowly toward the midpalate as we get a ratcheting-up of the oak spice as well as black pepper, clove, and a touch of dark roasted coffee bean. Again, it’s all in balance and maintains a light, delicate, and dry mouthfeel. The finish is medium length and slightly dry, a signature Canadian clean finish which completes one of the best crafted spirits from Crown Royal we’ve had.
Crown Royal Monarch 75th Anniversary Blend is everything we love about Canadian whisky. It shows that you can deliver a lot of flavor and character, including strong oak, in a whisky that’s light, delicate, and balanced. Crown Royal Monarch feels like a complete thought, a blend with a very specific character that wonderfully executes in a very specific direction. So many ultra premium whisky releases lately feel like they’re aimed more at collectors or age chasers than drinkers. Crown Royal Monarch is very clearly meant to be consumed, and it’s such a pleasant drinking experience that you’ll find your glass empty much sooner than you’d expect.