Crown Royal Monarch 75 Anniversary Blend
Review: Crown Royal Monarch 87.5/100
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka the Rum Howler)
Published March 17, 2015
Crown Royal®Canadian Whisky is currently produced in Gimli, Manitoba, at the Crown Royal Distillery. The distillery and the brand are owned by the global spirits conglomerate Diageo, and I think it is fair to say that Crown Royal is Diageo’s flagship Canadian whisky. The brand was 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 who traveled across the Country by train that year. (Apparently, the train carrying the Royal Couple was stocked with 10 cases of the new Crown Royal Blend.) 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 Canada and the USA by value. (I believe Canadian Club is still the number one brand in Canada by volume.)
In 2014, (75 years later) Crown Royal Master Blender, Andrew MacKay created a limited edition whisky to commemorate the brand’s 75 year anniversary. According to Mr. MacKay:
“Crown Royal was originally created for royalty, crafted over time and the fact that the whisky is still being enjoyed 75 years later is really special to all of us at Crown Royal. We’re excited to share this special limited edition blend with consumers and look forward to celebrating many more years of unmatched whisky.”
Crown Royal Monarch 75th Anniversary Blend is perhaps a little more rye-forward in its approach than previous Crown Royal whiskies. This is because the Monarch is produced from a blend of whiskies which include rye whisky from the distillery’s Coffey rye still. As you will see from the review, the rye from this historic still makes a real impression upon the flavour profile of the Monarch Whisky.
In the Bottle 5/5
I was sent a flask style 200 ml sample bottle by the media team responsible for Crown Royal Whisky to facilitate my review of the product here on my website (see photo down below). The more conventional 750 ml bottle is shown to the left.
Crown Royal Whiskies have a rather unique presentation. As you can see, they use an elegant crown shaped bottle with each brand of whisky having its own distinctively shaped bottle. As well, each bottle is usually housed in its own cardboard carton. In the case of the Crown Royal Monarch, it is encased in a gold carton with silver trim. The carton is sealed with a magnetic enclosure. The iconic crown royal bag is a grey/silver colour embroidered with gold accents. Its crown shaped bottle is taller and broader than the flagship of the brand, Crown Royal Deluxe. It has a web-like textured surface for easy gripping, and a unique gold crown cap.
(BTW: Crown Royal Monarch is produced at 40 % alcohol by volume.)
In the Glass 9/10
The Crown Royal Monarch displays itself as a rich amber coloured spirit which has just begun that journey towards a more deep copper colour in my glencairn. When I gave my glass a slow tilt and a twirl, I see a slightly thickened sheen of whisky on the inside of my glass. The crest of that oily sheen released somewhat slender legs which traveled at a moderate pace back down to the whisky at the bottom.
Although the slender legs indicate to me that the bulk of the whisky in this blend is probably not aged for more than 8 to 10 years, there is a lovely complexity about the nose which I appreciate very much. The initial aroma from the glass reveals a beguiling combination of butterscotch and maple rising into the air within a framework of firm wood (oak and cedar) spice and wonderful ‘fresh from the oven’ sourdough rye bread scents. As I allowed the glass to sit, I discovered building aromas of musty corn cobs, some oaky vanillans, sweet honeycomb and subtle nuances of milk chocolate teasing at my nostrils.
In the Mouth 52.5/60
The Monarch Whisky brings forward nicely melded flavours of corn syrup, butterscotch and maple all firmly affected by oak and cedar wood spices, fruity rye, and fresh sour dough bread. There is a bit of ‘rough and tumble’ within the flavour profile which reminds me of the flavours which stem from young oak barrels which are still full of caramelized/charred wood flavours as well as woody vanillans and fresh sap. I taste some rich chocolate and cola flavours alongside the sweeter butterscotch and maple as well as some nice rich tobacco welling up from underneath.
There is though, just a touch of astringency which prevents my score from climbing into the higher realms. Perhaps that ‘rough and tumble’ I sense is also an indication of some youthful whiskies added to the blend to give the whisky some vibrancy. Fortunately, when mixed with a splash of ginger ale and a few drops of bitters, all astringency disappears from the spirit, and the result is a Horse’s Neck with a strong fruit-filled rye and corn character (see recipe below).
In the Throat 12.5/15
The finish lets me down just a little, as that astringency I noticed upon the palate is expressed as a slight burn when the whisky trails down the throat. I taste wonderful flavours of sourdough rye bread and butterscotch followed by lingering wood spices and the light bitterness of orange pith (that white pulpy material on the inside of an orange peel).
The Afterburn 8.5/10
The Crown Royal Monarch is an excellent whisky which features a nice melding of sweet maple and butterscotch flavours within a firm oaky character. Although the whisky features more rye than other Crown Royal Whiskies, the influence I taste is of an earthier stye of rye (almost like sourdough rye bread) which combines very well with the traditional punky corn forward flavour profile of Crown Royal. I like the Monarch very much, and if not for the light harshness of the exit, it would have scored much higher.
You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
1 3/4 oz Crown Royal Monarch
1 3/4 oz Ginger ale
Fill a rocks glass half full with ice
Pour in the Crown Royal and Ginger Ale
Add a drop of Angostura bitters
Stir and Garnish with lemon peel
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!
I am always asked what my numbers actually mean. In order to provide clarification, 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)