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Crown Royal Wine Barrel Finished Whisky

Review: Crown Crown Royal Wine Barrel Finished Whisky  89.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
January 26, 2020

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.

The Crown Royal Noble Collection is a series of whiskies that have been released on an annual basis since 2016. The Collection showcases Crown Royal whiskies with new flavour profiles by blending different components of the various whiskies that go into the Crown Royal blend and/or using different finishing techniques in maturing the company’s flagship whisky.

According to the distillery:

Each release has provided an opportunity to highlight the artistry and skill of the Crown Royal Master Distillers and Blenders, who are dedicated to their craft of creating extraordinary whiskies inspired by the brand’s long and rich history.

The Crown Royal Wine Barrel Finished Whisky is part of the Noble Collection, and the spirit is a result of a special finish given to selected Crown Royal Whiskies which have been extra matured for six months in freshly emptied Cabernet Sauvignon barrels from the Paso Robles region of California.

The final spirit is bottled at 40.1% alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 5/5

Each whisky in the Crown Royal line-up is housed in a rather unique crown shaped bottle which makes them immediately noticeable on your bar shelf. The bottles are usually sold in a nice box (in this case a nice purple canister) with a colourful cloth bag complete with braided drawstrings that the bottle can be placed inside. The presentation is topped with a crown shaped plastic cap closure.

In the Glass 8.5/10

When poured into my glencairn, the Noble Whisky shows us a rich amber/copper hue. When my glass is tilted and twirled, I see mid-sized droplets forming which fall as slender legs.

The aroma is rich with butterscotch, vanilla, dry spicy grain, light baking spice and almond. As the glass rests dusty grain and fine wood spice build in the breezes with light tobacco smells and spicy citrus peel.

In The Mouth 54/60

The whisky enters the mouth with a nice bite of rye and fine wood spice. I taste light vanilla and butterscotch complimented by slightly musty corn and rye grain. Flavours of dried fruit nestle in between accompanied by a very rum-like dark brown sugar and building oak spice. The whisky is spicy, but easy to sip neat. When I add ice I am delighted by dark chocolate and coffee flavours appearing.

The spirit also works very well in cocktails. A Manhattan  or an Old Fashioned Cocktail are definitely worth the effort.

In The Throat 13/15

Crown Royal Wine Barreled Whisky is medium bodied featuring a lengthened finish of vanilla, almond, and dry fruit with wood spices left glowing after the swallow.

The Afterburn 9/10

This is a very nice whisky suited for classic mixed drinks such as Manhattans or Old Fashioned Cocktails, and for sipping neat over ice.

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


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)

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