Review: Crown Royal Black

Review: Crown Royal Black

They say three of anything is a trend. Well, by my count, we’re at five.

I’m talking about whiskeys with extra oak aging, particularly with the word “Black” added to the name.

Crown Royal Black is, as you may expect, an added-oak version of the venerable Crown Royal Canadian whisky. In this case, “black” is no joke. It may very well be the darkest color whiskey I’ve ever encountered, a deep hazelnut color in the glass. The spirit in a full bottle is nearly opaque.

This concerned me. Over-oaking is a serious risk in whiskey, and the worry of a ruined whisky was on the top of my mind. The good news is that Crown Royal Black isn’t too far gone. Yes, it is oaked to within an inch of its life, but Crown has taken it just to the edge — and brought it back again.

The body is sweet like standard Crown Royal, but laced with intense oily wood notes, cinnamon, black pepper, and dried figs. Surprisingly mild for 90 proof, that wood character even overpowers the alcohol out of the spirit.

Long and smoldering finish, like a campfire turning to ash. That, of course, has good and bad connotations. I expect CR Black may be too much whisky for many. Others will find it’s got a rustic, frontier character that also finds a bit of balance in its own odd way.

90 proof.

B+ / $32 / crownroyal.com 

Crown Royal Black

$32
8.5

Rating

8.5/10

Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

23 Comments

  1. cange on October 5, 2010 at 7:39 am

    Can’t wait to try this with some Royal Crown cola! Remember that? The cocktail was called ‘Royal Crown Royal’ made of course with regular CR. I wonder if anyone actually ever put that combo together in a glass or if it was just some person thinking he was clever putting it together on paper. (Good thing this site has no wanna-be clever guy posting comments on everything, right?)

  2. Christopher Null on October 5, 2010 at 8:03 am

    RC is my favorite soda. There’s one store that sells it in SF. I just picked up two 12-packs last week!

  3. Chet on October 7, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Not impressed with this offering at all. The dark color is very off-putting, almost phoney, like carmel coloring was added. I’ll take the regular bottling of CR over this and give me the Cask 16 for a real treat. C- for me.

  4. Mrs. Original13 on November 11, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    I’m a CR lover, but this taste like the bottom of the sludge heap. I will stay with the original, after enduring this gunk of a bottle. Some things should be left alone, & this is one of them. Taste more like cheap whiskey, just too strong to appreicate the real quality.

  5. David on December 2, 2010 at 3:45 am

    I’m a big fan of Crown Royal Reserve (my go-to drink of choice most nights, although I have perhaps 50-60 other items on my bar) and I don’t mind the regular Crown Royal. I’ve had a taste of the XR and loved it but for the price it simply isn’t worth it (to me that is, perhaps if I had more money it would be my go-to rather than the Reserve). Regardless, when Crown Royal released this Black edition of their popular standard I was pretty excited and decided to give it a try. I can’t speak for everybody but I personally didn’t like this product. It was pretty dark, in fact perhaps the darkest whiskey I’ve seen, tasted pungent (though smooth, as are all Crown Royal products), and had a slightly sour finish as I recall. I ended up giving what was left of the bottle I bought to a friend of mine, who did like it (though not enough to buy another bottle). He is a pretty experienced drinker himself (Scotch more than Canadian whiskey) and said it was a fair whiskey but slightly expensive for what it was. Of course when buying any product you have to consider the alternatives that are available at the same price point and I must say, for the money I paid for my bottle there are a number of better choices (not the least of which is the standard Crown Royal). So there you have it, I didn’t like it though a friend did. I hope this helps.

  6. teduardo on December 31, 2010 at 8:53 am

    I first tasted crown royal black neat, and I was really disappointed. It wasn’t as elegant or smooth as regular CR. A few days later I decided to give it another shot on the rocks. The ice made a pretty big difference. The smoothness returned, the flavors mellowed a bit. Honestly it was quite enjoyable, though I don’t know that I’d buy it at full price. On sale, maybe. It would probably mix really well with cola if that’s your thing.

  7. Bullit Bob on January 8, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    I liked it with ginger ale but just a little too stout as a shot. If you don’t like it strait, I think it has its place in ginger ale. Just don’t ruin it with coke. I have to agree with others, that the original is smoother strait up.

  8. Don on June 16, 2011 at 5:52 am

    Had to try it and I must say that its pretty good! On the rocks and it really smooths out and I really like like it with just a touch of water, it really brings out the sweetness in it no doubt. I like regular crown for day to day use, crown reserve for special occassions(so smooth) and I like the black when I want something a little moore stout. All in all its not to bad.

  9. jason longboard on July 2, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Was excited but gotta admit, taste to me at least, like flat cola which I hate. I tried hard to like it too, wont turn it down, but will never buy it again after going through an entire bottle, and only started back on it after my scotch was gone. Regular crown blows it away. Flat cola, the end lol.

  10. TDSmoove on August 19, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Though most Canadian whisky drinkers I know swear by CR I personally never liked it much. A little too harsh with a lingering burn to me. I picked up this bottle to see if it was a fuller bolder flavor and surprise surprise it was. Much smoother than CR, the body was smooth and the color wasn’t off putting at all for me. Although I would not drink this neat, mixed or on the rocks worked very well for me and my associates.

  11. garland newton on September 26, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    I have enjoyed crown products for over 30 years. but I do belive that BLACK is the best whiskey I have every tasted. Thank you crown royal for comming up with crown black.

  12. garland newton on September 26, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    I have enjoyed crown products for over 30 years. but I do belive that BLACK is the best whiskey I have every tasted. Thank you crown royal for comming up with crown black. I drink my cown on the rocks most of the time. There is nothing better.

  13. tablemanto on December 11, 2011 at 3:28 am

    I liked Crown Royal Black,although, it was something I’d rather drink straight. Enjoyed too much to mix it. For an incredible award winning Crown Royal Cocktail see http://www.thebaldbartender.com

  14. kjarsit on December 30, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Tried it neat first and was not impressed. I’m a huge bourbon fan so it takes a lot to impress me. Poured over ice improves the taste immensely. A fair whiskey, but the original is better neat. In my opinion the Canadians try very hard, but just can’t quite match a fine American (Kentucky) bourbon. A distillery tour of Kentucky’s bourbons is on my bucket list. Jack’s Old No.7 is just as smooth and pleasing to the palate. Might as well tour that too in Tennessee. They don’t call it Kentucky STRAIGHT Bourbon Whiskey for nothin’!

  15. koster37 on January 13, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    The whiskey is GREAT !!!!! Believe me. I’m from Ukraine-Russia, so this is the best whiskey I have ever tasted and tried before. It’s way better than Jack Daniels, I’m talking about whiskeys, not VODKA.

  16. Garret on March 21, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    This was fallback for me tonight, and it was good the oak made me like it more than normal CR still wish I got me some bulliet rye.

  17. Anonymous on August 4, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    This stuff is great I drink nothing else when I can’t find it it makes me sad. Awesome stuff!!!!!!

  18. Jeremy pigula on August 4, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    I can’t under what the haters are talking about this stuff is just plan GREAT!!!!!!!! When I can’t find it, itakes me sad!!! Great whiskey!!!!!!! Now it all I drink!!!

  19. Eric on September 25, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    I think the haters must be pussies! Greatest blended Canadian I’ve ever tasted. Great neat or on the rocks! Remember, this is a “sipping whiskey”! Meant to be rolled around the mouth and savored, like a fine wine! I’d love to try it at 100 proof!

  20. Jim cole on April 28, 2020 at 9:10 pm

    I love the deep flavors and cinnamon overtones. Crown Royal Black is a hit

  21. Jim Cole on April 28, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    Yes!! It is a great sipping whiskey.

  22. Mike on May 28, 2021 at 11:28 pm

    I like Jim Beam Bourbon as a mixer, but my favorite for sipping was Jim beam Black until I tasted Crown Royal Black. Crown Royal and Bushnell seem smooth and refined and I have to be in the mood. For sipping my favorite is Crown Royal Black, followed by Jim Beam Black and Bushnell Red Bush. Those are my favorite choices for sipping that are reasonably priced.

  23. Bob on January 16, 2024 at 8:47 pm

    Crown Royal Black is like the bold sibling of Crown Royal, with a bit more kick at 45% alcohol. It has a simple and nice flavor – think vanilla, spicy ginger, and a touch of dark fruit. Great on the rocks, but it’s a tad thin. The warm finish lingers, making it a cozy choice. Priced at around $32, it’s meant to be a Canadian whisky with a hint of bourbon style, but there might be better and cheaper bourbons out there. Cheers to exploring flavors! ? #CrownRoyalBlack #WhiskyVibes

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