Two additional Crown Royal bottlings for your consideration. This classic Canadian whisky continues to expand its portfolio upward and onwards, with rarer and more expensive blends. (See also our review of Crown Royal Reserve.) Both of the below whiskys land at a perfectly accessible 80 proof.
Crown Royal Cask No. 16 – This is a very unusual whisky, a blend of 50 different whiskys that are then brought together to age in old cognac casks made from French oak. (The “16″ comes from a stamp put on the casks to indicate their place of origin and authenticity.) Served neat, you get fruit notes and a good slug of vanilla. Very smooth, it’s a fine whisky. Crown Royal recommends it served on the rocks, but I preferred it at room temperature. The cold brought out some bitterness which I found disagreeable. A / $100
Crown Royal XR Extra Rare (pictured below) – A curious blend of bourbon and rye characters, this spicy number carries an initial punch of vanilla, then backs it up with strong rye grain notes. It’s creamy in body, but the finish fades quickly, leaving you with a modest, oaky note. It’s good enough, but I think the #16 is a better, more interesting, and better balanced whisky. For your $180, though, you will at least get a great story to tell: The XR was crafted from whatever rare whiskys that they managed to save when one of Crown Royal’s distilleries, Waterloo Distillery, burned down. So, yeah, that’s pretty rare. A- / $180