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Crown Royal Vanilla Canadian Whisky

Review: Crown Royal Vanilla  76.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra
Posted April 11, 2018

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 Vanilla Whisky was introduced as an addition to the Crown Royal family of whiskies.

According to the Crown Royal website:

To create this extraordinary blend, Crown Royal whiskies are carefully selected by our master whisky blenders and infused with the rich flavor of Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla. The result is a uniquely sophisticated whisky, bursting with the bold flavor of vanilla and the distinctive smoothness of Crown Royal.”

In the Bottle 4.5/5

Crown Royal Whiskies have a rather unique presentation. They use a nifty/elegant crown shaped bottle with each brand having its own distinctive shape. For Crown Royal Vanilla, the whisky is sometimes housed in a caramel coloured display box and display bag with drawstrings (not shown).

As well, each variety of Crown Royal utilizes a ‘crown’ shaped gold coloured screw cap to close the bottle. I like the presentation very much, and in the flavoured whisky category, this is the best bottle presentation I have seen to date.

(BTW: Crown Vanilla is produced at 35 % alcohol by volume.)

In the Glass 8/10

The flavoured whisky has a much richer bronze colour than I was expecting. When I swirl my glass and inspect the liquid sheen that has deposited itself on the inside, I see it is thickened. Fat droplets form which do not fall back into the whisky. This is a fairly young whisky blend; based upon the fat droplets, it is obvious that it has been sweetened by sugar syrup (as well as flavoured with Madagascar Bourbon vanilla).

The initial aroma brings a combination of butterscotch and vanilla forward with some nice oak and grain spices. It is nice that the underlying Crown Royal Whisky can break through the sweetened vanilla. I let the glass breathe but things do not change. I was hoping the whisky-like scents from the oak and the grain might begin to overtake the sweetness but this does not happen.

In the Mouth 44.5/60

When I took my first sip I noticed that a light taste of pecan had joined with the vanilla and butterscotch which gave me hope that the whisky might have began to show further development. Whether this was true or not is hard to say as unfortunately the flavoured spirit quickly became very sweet on the palate with flavours of butterscotch and vanilla overwhelming the other flavours that might be trying to surface.

I added a bit of ice to my glencairn and this helped somewhat but I was not enthused. I think that if I am to find enjoyment, it must be as a cocktail spirit. To that end, I decided to tweak a cocktail in the style of the Cable Car replacing the Captain Morgan Spiced Rum which normally is used for this mixed drink with the Crown Royal Vanilla. The resulting bar drink was tasty, and I have shared the recipe below.

In the Throat 12/15

The finish is thick with the taste of sweet butterscotch and vanilla. A light oak spiciness with hints of ginger does settle onto the palate after the swallow which helps balance the heightened sweetness.

The Afterburn  7.5/10

After tasting the Crown Royal Salted Caramel a few weeks ago, I had high hopes for the Crown Royal Vanilla. These hopes were unfortunately dashed against a firm sweetness which characterizes the spirit. I did find a suitable cocktail; but other than in the cocktail format, I did cannot recommend Crown Royal Vanilla.

My final score is 76.5/100 which represents a spirit which should be used as a base for mixed drinks and cocktails.

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Suggested Recipe

The Railroader

1 1/2 oz Crown Royal Vanilla
3/4 oz Orange Curacao (Bols Triple Sec)
1  oz fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)  (optional)
Ice
Orange peel

Add the ingredients to a metal shaker with ice
Shake all until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a cinnamon sugar rimmed cocktail glass
Garnish with an orange peel

And remember to please enjoy responsibly!

If you are interested in more of my cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

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You may (loosely) interpret the scores 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 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)

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