Review: Diageo Orphan Barrel Project Entrapment Canadian Whisky 25 Years Old

Crown Royal is undoubtedly one of Diageo’s biggest brands. It only makes sense that some of this classic Canadian whisky would make its way to the company’s Orphan Barrel Project, a collection of oddball lots — usually very, very old — that receive a limited release once or twice a year.

Some details from Diageo (including info on why this didn’t make it into one of Crown Royal’s many special releases):

Entrapment came to be in 1992, as part of a batch of Crown Royal Deluxe that was left in the barrel at Crown Royal’s distillery in Gimli, Manitoba for 25 years. Sometimes when using full blends of Crown Royal, there are small quantities of barrels that didn’t fit into the full blend – and Entrapment was born. The mash bill for Entrapment is 97 percent corn and three percent malted barley.

That’s a lot of corn, but the extended time in barrel has given the whisky a welcome roundness. The nose is quite gentle, with almonds and some old wood notes the most evident aromas. With time, a slightly winey character comes to the fore, coming off as a bit musty at times. The palate sees a similarly quiet character, though here it showcases more of a wood influence, more of those winey notes, and an austere leatheriness that feels like it’s straight out of a university library. (A Canadian university, of course.) The body is a little gummy, perhaps chewy, with a finish that recalls overripe cherries and plums. A sprinkle of dried baking spices rounds out the conclusion.

This is a very light bodied whisky that has spent an eternity in barrel, stripping it of some of its character but giving it an eruditeness that you aren’t likely to find elsewhere. As flavor experiences go, there’s really not much going on at this point, so don’t expect a life-altering experience. As a glimpse into the past — or, at least, 1992 — it’s at least worth a peek, for the sake of ’90s nostalgia if nothing else.

82 proof.

B / $150 / diageo.com

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