Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye
96.2 / 100 WhiskeyRating's Score
$29.99Price Paid
750mlVolume (ml)
Spectacular place to start for those new to Rye. Very approachable cost and availability.
Maybe hard to imagine something so good coming out of Crown Royal!
Wait a minute... Crown Royal took top honors somewhere? With who? A Crown employee tasting? What? In Jim Murray's Whisky Bible ( That’s a joke or sponsored result, right? Back when I was behind the bar, Crown was seen as an ever so slight step up from the rail and -nobody- drank it without also saying “and coke.” Now its thought of as best of breed? 96 points? What world is this? Apparently its true. Jim Murray loved Crown Royal’s Northern Harvest Rye so much, it ended up at the top of his 2016 list. I remember thinking "Well. Hmmm. I guess I should give it a try. I wonder where I find it. It has to be hard to find…” Of course, my local Binny’s had it on the shelf, but so did my local supermarket! There it was surrounded by other Crowns like their original Royal and the younger Regal Apple. But I was stunned when I saw the price..  it was cheep! Well, the cheapest of the glass bottles anyway. Don’t worry. It comes in a glass bottle but ships in a nice box. Though I do remember wondering if Crown had followed the wine crowd and gone to boxes to save money. Obviously I didn’t hold it in high regard when I found it on the shelf. Same for the over-knowledgable employee who had no idea it won any award. He looked at me like I was nuts. So, despite all that and some weird looks from my wife, I had to get a bottle. I got it home, opened the box, took it out of the bag (what’s that about?? What do I do with that now?), and looked at it for a day or two. I think I was somehow afraid of it like it was some insanely complex joke to get me to drink some low quality swill. A couple of days later, I finally moved past my hesitations and opened it up to try it neat. It’s light in color. Golden. It’s aroma is mild with lots of fruit but is a bit medicinal if you breath deeply. The first sip took me by surprise as it doesn’t jump at you nor does it have much viscosity. Yet if you hold it on your tongue, the flavor builds along with the slight burn. It’s got a mild, pleasing flavor and there is no doubt its a Canadian nor is there a doubt its a rye. Again, heavy in the fruits and a rich grain flavor which stays with you for a surprisingly long followthrough. I promise you will taste it for a long time, but the flavors don’t last as long as the burn. I admit I tasted it more than a few times and kept expecting it to suddenly taste terrible. It never did. Eventually, I pulled out the shaker and tried it in a Manhattan or two with similar results. Flavorful. Fruity. Not too sweet. While good with Angostura bitters, I found that I really liked it with Woodford’s cherry bitters. I guess all that apple-rich fruit flavor connects well with cherries. Now I kind of want to try it while eating a pie! I still don't know how it’s this flavorful without being overly sweet. That calls for more research! Last Call... Oh crap. This is good. So much better than I expected. And at that price, I can enjoy it every day. New to rye? This is a spectacular place to start given it’s exceedingly approachable cost and availability. Just don’t forget the pie!
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