Crown Royal Cask No. 16
Review: Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Canadian Whisky (93.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted February 17, 2010
(Introduction revised and rescored December, 2014)
Crown Royal® Canadian Whisky was originally introduced in 1939 (by Samuel Bronfman of Seagrams) as a special whisky bottling to commemorate the Royal tour of Canada by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in that year. Until 1964, the whisky was only available in Canada; however, today it is available world-wide and is in fact the number one Canadian whisky brand sold in the USA. Crown Royal is currently produced in Gimli Manitoba, at the Crown Royal Distillery which (since the dissolution of the Seagrams portfolio in 2000) is owned by the spirits conglomerate Diageo.
Cask No. 16 is according to the company website,
“handcrafted from more than 50 different aged Canadian whiskies and then finished in Cognac Oak casks from the Limousin forest in France”
Although rumours persist as to the demise of this outstanding blend, I note that as of the end of 2014, it remains listed on the Crown Royal website as part of the Crown Royal Family, and is readily available in my home Province of Alberta.
In The Bottle 4.5/5
The Cask No. 16 whisky comes housed in an oval black cardboard sleeve as pictured to the left. The Crown shaped bottle is protected by a black bag with golden coloured drawstrings. As with all of the Crown Royal presentations, this one is very nice. The only niggle I have is with the black cardboard sleeve. It is sealed with two black seals near the bottom of the container. Once opened, the container cannot be resealed and it becomes extremely awkward to carry. If you are not careful the container will pop apart while you carry it dropping the precious contents to the floor.
In the Glass 9.5/10
A brilliant amber copper coloured liquid sits in the bottom of my rocks glass. The nose is a rich mixture of spice, caramel, and butterscotch. Fruity accents and brown sugars rise if the glass is left to sit for a brief moment. I cannot stress enough how rich and luxurious the nose is.
When I swirled the glass I thought at first that all I was getting was a filmy sheen on my glass, but later when I looked I saw big fat legs trailing ever so slowly down.
In the Mouth 56/60
The first sensation in my mouth was of an incredible softness that this whisky presents. It is almost chewy soft. A mellow corn whisky is up front on the palate, but rich soft butterscotch, caramel and sweet brown sugar sit under the corn flavour supporting and enhancing the experience. A nice spicy bite which has the hallmarks of pears and grapes grabs at the taste buds. Carrying all of this flavour forward is a wonderful mild oak presence that never dominates. The oak acts as it should, as a garnish which heightens the other flavours with its presence.
Overall this is a huge step up from the Crown Royal Reserve. This is softer, sweeter, with a much richer heritage of balance and complexity. I think what appeals to me the most is that softness in the mouth, combined with that mellow corn flavour. This is a beautiful sipping whisky, and although we have strong bourbon undertones, the whisky is unmistakable Canadian in heritage and design.
In the Throat 14/15
In a lot of ways this is more of a bourbon style of finish than a Canadian style. The exit is long and silky. The spicy fruity bite is pleasantly toned down; but in spite of its subdued nature, the mildly spicy burn lasts and lasts. The sweetness of the brown sugars and butterscotch remain as after flavours on the palate. I doubt this could ever get old with me.
The Afterburn 9.5/10
For those who prefer a more subdued corn profile and a milder rye like burn, this is probably the perfect Canadian whisky. It is wonderfully luxurious and rich, yet full of character and complexity. Sip it neat, or on the rocks, and you will not be disappointed.
You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)