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Crown Royal Cask No. 16

Review: Crown Royal Cask No. 16   Canadian Whisky (93.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted February 17, 2010
(Introduction revised and rescored December, 2014)

Crown Royal® Canadian Whisky was originally 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 in that year. 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 the USA. Crown Royal is currently produced in Gimli Manitoba, at the Crown Royal Distillery which (since the dissolution of the Seagrams portfolio in 2000) is owned by the spirits conglomerate Diageo.

Cask No. 16 is according to the company website,

“handcrafted from more than 50 different aged Canadian whiskies and then finished in Cognac Oak casks from the Limousin forest in France”

Although rumours persist as to the demise of this outstanding blend, I note that as of the end of 2014, it remains listed on the Crown Royal website as part of the Crown Royal Family, and is readily available in my home Province of Alberta.

In The Bottle 4.5/5

The Cask No. 16 whisky comes housed in an oval black cardboard sleeve as pictured to the left. The Crown shaped bottle is protected by a black bag with golden coloured drawstrings. As with all of the Crown Royal presentations, this one is very nice. The only niggle I have is with the black cardboard sleeve. It is sealed with two black seals near the bottom of the container. Once opened, the container cannot be resealed and it becomes extremely awkward to carry. If you are not careful the container will pop apart while you carry it dropping the precious contents to the floor.

In the Glass 9.5/10

A brilliant amber copper coloured liquid sits in the bottom of my rocks glass. The nose is a rich mixture of spice, caramel, and butterscotch. Fruity accents and brown sugars rise if the glass is left to sit for a brief moment. I cannot stress enough how rich and luxurious the nose is.

When I swirled the glass I thought at first that all I was getting was a filmy sheen on my glass, but later when I looked I saw big fat legs trailing ever so slowly down.

In the Mouth 56/60

The first sensation in my mouth was of an incredible softness that this whisky presents. It is almost chewy soft. A mellow corn whisky is up front on the palate, but rich soft butterscotch, caramel and sweet brown sugar sit under the corn flavour supporting and enhancing the experience. A nice spicy bite which has the hallmarks of pears and grapes grabs at the taste buds. Carrying all of this flavour forward is a wonderful mild oak presence that never dominates. The oak acts as it should, as a garnish which heightens the other flavours with its presence.

Overall this is a huge step up from the Crown Royal Reserve. This is softer, sweeter, with a much richer heritage of balance and complexity. I think what appeals to me the most is that softness in the mouth, combined with that mellow corn flavour. This is a beautiful sipping whisky, and although we have strong bourbon undertones, the whisky is unmistakable Canadian in heritage and design.

In the Throat 14/15

In a lot of ways this is more of a bourbon style of finish than a Canadian style. The exit  is long and silky.  The spicy fruity bite is pleasantly toned down; but in spite of its subdued nature, the mildly spicy burn lasts and lasts. The sweetness of the brown sugars and butterscotch remain as after flavours on the palate. I doubt this could ever get old with me.

The Afterburn  9.5/10

For those who prefer a more subdued corn profile and a milder rye like burn, this is probably the perfect Canadian whisky. It is wonderfully luxurious and rich, yet full of character and complexity. Sip it neat, or on the rocks, and you will not be disappointed.

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)


13 Responses to “Crown Royal Cask No. 16”

  1. Greg said

    Just wondering, is this bottle corked or does it use a plastic screw cap like most other CR products?

  2. Mark Rosen said

    I have been a neat whiskey drinker for 25 years and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the great taste and smooth finish. I have tried many whiskeys but this is the best I have tasted so far also the most expensive. I feel the price wasn’t out of line and would recommend it.

  3. Michael Loos said

    I have to say that our tastes are very similar. Definately butterscotch and caramel, the fruit that came to mind was raisins (grapes, as you mentioned). I could sit and revel in the sweet aroma wafting from the glass all night long.

    The texture of Cask 16, as it ambles across the tongue, in my mind, shouldn’t be described so much as soft, but more like the sensation one receives when allowing a good piece of Dove chocolate to melt in your mouth – Soft, luxurious, full, satiny and satisfying.

    Drink it on the rocks when shooting pool or playing cards with friends, a little more robust, sharper, cleaner, cooler. Neat when sitting back and reading, talking or just contemplating a sunset – a fuller, mellower, more complex taste.

    The finish is sweet and spicy with a long slow drawl.

    If you are a fan of Crown Royal, then this is your Valhalla.

  4. Mike said

    I got a bottle of this for Christmas, as well as a bottle of standard CR Deluxe. At first I was a bit let down by the lack of a big difference between the two. But just now I did a more thorough head-to-head and Cask 16 revealed its quality. My main conclusion was that Cask 16 needs some time in the glass to reach its potential. I found swirling it around the sides of the glass really helped it along. Also as you pointed out, Chip, the finish is where it shines. Dried fruit, brown sugar, and gingerbread persist for a good while. Deluxe, on the other hand, hardly has any finish to speak of by comparison.

  5. george rintamaki said

    Ihave started collecting various liquors and to take some of the pain away from high prices in ontario i travel and buy in states or duty free. 50 to 60% cheaper. example
    crown royal xr 125.00, cask 16 39.00 . so go on a holiday and stay longer than 48 hours with wife and family and you will reap the rewards.

  6. Hank said

    My first glass of this whisky left me wanting more. What grabbed my attention was the butterscotch finnish. My wife gave me a bottle for my 38th birthday and I confess myself disappointed. I’m left a bit confused. Either the bartender gave me something different or I am simply not drinking it in the manner to which I should be. I confess, I am a novice when it comes to sipping whiskey so please, set me straight and help me to enjoy this gift as much as I did at my local pub.

    • It is hard to say what the problem was. Like you, my first impulse is to suspect the bartender gave you something else, This would be a very expensive pub drink, and unlikely to even be behind the bar. Then again one never knows. It could also be that the ambiance of the evening, and whatever you have eaten or drank previously contributed to your enjoyment that evening.

      I really have only two suggestions, first try a little in a well decanted glass without ice at room temperature. If you are not getting the flavour you want, add a single ice cube and stir. Then sip again. Good Luck!

  7. I’ve been staring at this lately in the liquor store. The price is not cheap, but I guess neither is the taste based on your review.



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