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Crown Royal Bourbon Mash (aka Crown Royal Blender’s Mash)

Review: Crown Royal Bourbon Mash (aka Crown Royal Blender’s Mash)   74/100
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka the Rum Howler)
Published November 09, 2018

Crown Royal Canadian Whisky is currently 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.

Last year Crown Royal introduced what they call their Blenders’ Series, a new line of special whiskies that celebrate the art of blending. The series is a tribute to their iconic Crown Royal Deluxe Whisky, and each release in the Crown Royal Blenders’ Series will showcase a classic whisky style. Last March the first release in that collection was unveiled as Crown Royal Blender’s Mash. The use of the word ‘bourbon’ created controversy when the Canadian Whisky was released in the USA as this was considered by many to be a violation of the US labeling rules regarding what can and cannot be called a bourbon whisky. This means that the spirit was soon re-branded in the US market as Crown Royal Blenders’ Mash.

According to the producer:

Crown Royal Blenders’ Mash showcases the warm vanilla and subtle oaky notes of our beloved corn-heavy whiskies – among the most flavorful and complex of the five unique whiskies that comprise Crown Royal’s signature blend.

Whether you have a bottle of the USA branded ‘Blenders’ Mash’ or the Canadian branded ‘Bourbon Mash’ my contacts at Diageo tell me that the two whiskies are the same Canadian blend. I was given a bottle of each to sample, and I can verify that I could not tell the difference.

The blended Canadian whisky is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 5/5

Crown Royal Whiskies have a unique presentation. As you can see, they use an elegant crown shaped bottle. As well, each bottle is usually housed in its own cardboard carton. In the case of the Crown Royal Bourbon Mash, it is encased in a very nice looking faux oak box. The iconic crown royal bag is this case is a light tan colour.  The presentation is topped with a gold coloured cap which also is shaped like a crown.

In the Glass 8/10

When I poured the whisky into my glass I saw the spirit had a nice copper appearance which was perhaps an indication of the natural colour captured from some young oak barrels used in the whisky’s production. When I give the whisky a light tilt and twirl in my glass I see small droplets forming at the crest which fall as slender legs back to the bottom. The small droplets and slender legs are an indication that although some young barrels may have used to age the whisky, the spirit is nevertheless quite young and light bodied.

The aromas from the glass is very ‘bourbon-like’ with notes of fresh oak and cedar melded with corn and vanilla. Light notes of honeycomb and graham wafer can be found as well as some finer oak spices. Given some time in the glass some fruitiness develops with scents of green apple and under ripe pears, as well as bits of orange peel and almond.

In the Mouth 43/60

When I take my first sip, the impression is reinforced that the spirit is young and under developed. There is a light bite of alcohol astringency and the complexity which was hinted at on the nose doesn’t come though completely in the delivery. The whisky is light and fruity (in particular I notice a firm burst of green apple, and although, the scents and smells I noted in the glass do come through across the palate, the richness implied by the nose is absent. This means that the whisky seems somewhat thin in comparison to bourbon and this thin quality and that light bite of astringency force me to place into the mixing category rather than the sipping.

Even when mixed there was a certain level of disappointment. The spirit was not complex enough to stand up in classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned. Rather it seemed to beg to be mixed with cola. Even them I found I needed to add some cocktail bitters to the serving to add some character (see recipe below).

In the Throat  10.5/15

The whisky has a light burn which needs a little ice to be quelled. When I add ice I notice some chocolate flavours emerging and some nice caramel baking spices in the exit. The light burn makes the spirit unsuitable as a sipper however it works well in tall cocktails with cola added.

The Afterburn 7.5/10

Crown Royal’s Bourbon Mash doesn’t really find its way. The light bodied spirit doesn’t really stack up in terms of flavour and complexity to comparably priced bourbon, and it lacks the easy-going smoothness of a typical Canadian Whisky. Mixed with cola and a dash of bitters, the Bourbon mash tastes just fine, so my inclination was to save my sample bottles for back deck gatherings served with burgers and good music.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

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Suggested Serving:

Blenders (Bourbon) Mash and Cola

1 1/2 oz Crown Royal Bourbon Mash
dash Fees Whiskey Barrel Aged Cocktail Bitters
4 oz Cola
Ice
Wedge of Lime

Add the Ice-cubes to a tumbler
Pour the Whisky over the ice
Add a healthy splash of cola and a dash of bitters
Garnish with a lime slice
Enjoy!

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

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 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)

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