Review: Crown Royal Texas Mesquite
As a born-and-raised Texan, I can personally attest to the state’s love affair with Crown Royal Canadian Whisky. Why this is, I don’t know. I think they really just love the felt bags.
As a distinct nod to the state, Crown Royal is releasing a limited-edition whisky called Crown Royal Texas Mesquite. By far the most “out there” expression of Crown Royal I’ve ever encountered, it’s a whisky that will undoubtedly make a mark in the state. Some details:
Nearly 60 years ago, Canadian oil workers made the trek to the Lone Star State, bringing with them their whisky of choice, Crown Royal. Known for its regal history and distinguished flavor, Crown Royal became a mainstay in Texas and has left its mark with innumerable Texas fans. Today, Crown Royal is giving back to Texas with its first ever limited-edition release of Crown Royal Texas Mesquite. Marrying two iconic Texas traditions, barbecue and whisky, Crown Royal Texas Mesquite combines the smoky flavor of locally sourced Texas mesquite wood with the signature smoothness of Crown Royal De Luxe. Crown Royal Texas Mesquite adds a special smokiness to summertime grilling, barbecues and celebrations of all kind that are in need of a little Texas kick.
This wacky whisky isn’t clear on its production methods, only that it “uses flavors from locally sourced mesquite wood” in the course of making it. It also comes complete with a wooden label, further enhancing its Texas cred.
Well, I’m intrigued, at least. Let’s try this thing.
The nose offers an immediate punch of smoke: sharp, reminscent of barbecue, but mostly redolent of a wood fire, slightly grassy and green, with a bit of that sweet fruit that is characteristic of mesquite. This smokiness dominates everything else, and while there might be a hint of licorice or chocolate under the cloudy haze, it’s tough to pick out.
The palate doesn’t mix up the playbook much. A heavily sweetened smoke character dominates, almost like a mixture of Liquid Smoke and Sweet’N Low, watered down to be made palatable to a mass audience. The whisky finds some nuance in notes of overripe fruit, dried herbs, and a surprising cayenne pepper note that gives it a hint of Tabasco. That touch of heat — alongside the smoke — linger on the finish for ages. The overall impact is entirely unique — but nothing that approaches any sort of character that I can imagine anyone gravitating to. Even if they’re from Texas.