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Crown Royal Maple Finished™ Canadian Whisky

Crown Royal Maple Finished™ Canadian Whisky  77/100
a review  by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted July 07, 2013

Crown Royal Canadian Whisky is produced in Gimli, Manitoba, at the Crown Royal Distillery. The distillery and the brand are owned by the spirits conglomerate, Diageo, and I think it is fair to say that Crown Royal is Diageo’s flagship Canadian Whisky brand. About a year ago Crown Royal Maple Finished™ Canadian Whisky was introduced as an addition to the Crown Royal family of whiskies. This is as far as I know the first flavoured whisky ever produced by Crown, and it presents itself as a Maple Finished™’ rather than maple flavoured.

Going through the Crown Royal Website (and the press materials I could find), I found very little information on the maple finish except one comment which stated that the master blender for Crown Royal had

“finished our celebrated whisky with maple toasted oak to yield a uniquely smooth experience. It’s a perfect blend of Crown Royal’s signature caramel and vanilla nose with the elegant aromas of light, fresh maple that creates a flavour profile that finished on an authentically warm and woody note.”

Last fall, my friend Lukasz brought over a bottle of Crown Royal Maple and allowed me to steal a sample (which I kept in a small sealed glass bottle). I finally made time to taste and assess the sample earlier this week.

In the Bottle 4.5/5maple-bottle

This new flavoured whisky is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume and arrives in the 750 ml bottle shown to the left. Crown Royal always does a great job with respect to the presentation of their whiskies, and I have no quibbles with what I see.

In the Glass 7.5/10

The flavoured whisky has a lightly thickened consistency relative to the regular Crown Royal Whisky, but it is not nearly so thick as the other maple flavoured whiskies I have tasted recently. The initial aroma from my glass brings forward impressions of maple of course, with noticeable vanilla scents as well as what I will say is an ‘odd’ spiciness. I say odd because the spiciness doesn’t really fit in well with the maple and the vanilla. It seems to be a combination of wood and rye spices as well as some dark tobacco which is all nice enough; but there is also a very noticeable acrid astringency which rises into the air. I remember not being particularly impressed last fall when I tasted the flavoured whisky for the first time with my friends. I guess my sentiments (at least as far as aroma are concerned) have not changed.

In the Mouth 46.5/60

As the whisky enters the mouth, the maple and the vanilla flavours are again very obvious. However the whisky flavour carries that odd spiciness I noted on the nose, and that odd spiciness just doesn’t appeal to me. It is a dank sort of spiciness which seems heavier on ginger and cardamom than what the nose would have implied. I also taste some dark fruit, tobacco and obvious wood spice. Despite the obvious sweetness from the maple, the overall flavour seems to carry far more bitterness forward than I was expecting which gives that maple a sort of treacle-like characteristic. Perhaps this bitterness is a result of “maple toasted oak” which implies some sort of charring or toasting of the maple which would give its flavour it a bitterness similar to treacle.

After several tasting sessions I find the whisky to be at the same time, both too sweet (especially in the delivery), and too bitter (especially in the exit) for me to enjoy as a sipper. However, as a mixer, the flavours settle down, and the whisky at home mixed with ginger-ale or cola.

In the Throat 11/15

The finish is lightly harsh and carries that too sweet and yet too bitter impression right through to the ending (with the bitterness building in the finish).

The Afterburn 7.5/10

I was not impressed with the Crown Royal Maple Finished™ Canadian Whisky. The underlying Crown Royal Whisky does not seem to mesh well with the maple flavour, and the final result is a whisky which seems oddly sweet and too bitter at the same time. As a mixer the whisky is more than satisfactory, and in fact a good splash of soda seem to do wonders to combat that bitterness.

My final score is 77/100 which reflects upon the mixing potential but not the sipping potential.

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)


4 Responses to “Crown Royal Maple Finished™ Canadian Whisky”

  1. Mark Cous said

    I was VERY aprehensive i.e. one should never mess with the perfection of Crown Royal…why bother?
    It took me “a few” to become climatized. The next day cravings were enough to suggest I was hooked!
    In summary, very unique, very Canadian, very memorable, very perfect for the holidays, very good.

  2. jfpilon said

    I completely agree: it just doesn’t jive.

    • I am happy that you agree with me. (I think we usually agree more than disagree.) I had troubles in the review stating what the problem with this flavoured whisky was, your statement, “it just doesn’t jive” pretty much sums it up!

      Thanks JF

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