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what is in crown royal?

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what is in crown royal?

Postby shulaw05 » Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:57 pm

Forgive my ignornance for asking this question. i did a search thru the forums and online and could not find the answer as to what is in crown royal. according to their website, "crown royal...is a blend of 50 distinct, full bodied whiskies matured in white oak barrels..."

does cr produce all 50 of these whiskies itself, or do they buy casks from other distilleries and simply blend those, or a combination of some sort? i was just wondering and can't find the answer anywhere. thanks.
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Re: what is in crown royal?

Postby The Third Dram » Sat Apr 04, 2009 12:38 am

Crown Royal is, first and foremost, an all-Canadian whisky. That is, all of the spirit incorporated in the various versions of Crown Royal is distilled in Canada.

Presently, the sole site for distilling those spirits used in composing Crown Royal is the giant complex located at Gimli in Manitoba. Historically, there were many distilleries located across the breadth of Canada, amongst which the sites at Amherstburg and Waterloo in Ontario as well as at Beaupre and Lasalle in Quebec were especially renowned. However, operational rationalization of the Crown Royal enterprise (particularly during the later years of Seagram ownership) led to dismantlement of these sites concurrent with centralization at the newer Gimli location.

It's important to understand that the resulting smoothness and complexity of a typical Crown Royal whisky involves the distillation of various grains (including corn, rye, wheat and barley), the distillates of which are subsequently aged in an astounding variety of casks. The wood barrels utilized may include ex-Bourbon, ex-Canadian whisky, relatively 'fresh' oak and ex-wine casks. As each particular distillate, when matured in a particular type of oak, will yield a distintive spirit, it's easy to begin to imagine just how important the role of the blender is.

The ages of the various whiskies used in the makeup of Crown Royal will range from the relatively young to the relatively well-aged. Standard Crown Royal issues will, of course, be younger overall while the premium bottlings such as the Limited Edition and the Special Reserve will incorporate much older whiskies. In the case of Crown Royal XR, venerable whiskies from the Waterloo site will have been included, in significant quantity, in the blend.

Hope this has helped. :thumbsup:

P.S. My favourite Crown Royal at the moment is the Cask No.16, a simply delicious pour!
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Re: what is in crown royal?

Postby shulaw05 » Sat Apr 04, 2009 12:51 am

thanks TTD, that was very helpful. i attended whiskyfest chicago on wed and tasted the range of CR, and have to say that the XR was my favorite. incredibly spicy on the nose yet very smooth on the palate.
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Re: what is in crown royal?

Postby Novice Scotch Fan » Sat Apr 04, 2009 2:21 am

Third Dram, I have read a number of your posts and this most recent got me thinking that you should write a book on whisky, and as I read your profile, I learned that you indeed have done so. Really appreciate your posts. If you ever come to New Brunswick, I will buy a number of pours!
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Re: what is in crown royal?

Postby The Third Dram » Sat Apr 04, 2009 6:43 pm

Thanks for the comments, NSF... They're much appreciated.

Novice Scotch Fan wrote:If you ever come to New Brunswick, I will buy a number of pours!

Now there's a gracious offer! Actually, it's been a few years now since we've had the pleasure of visiting New Brunswick. Yet I still have many fond memories of our travels from Saint Andrews up along the Fundy coast and over to Northumberland. Beautiful scenery and simply wonderful people everywhere we went.

Just wish the Fundy waters lapping up onto those spectacularly beautiful beaches were a tad warmer. :wink:

If we ever head out your way again, it would indeed be a treat to get together over a number of drams.
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Re: what is in crown royal?

Postby Bruichladdict » Sat Apr 04, 2009 7:20 pm

While CR is a very popular whisky, it is important to bear in mind that it is produced using column stills, though the 10-20% which constitutes the flavouring spirit MAY be distilled in copper pot stills. In the fine industrial whisky tradition, they don't tell you much about their product except that it is whisky and aged in wood.

CR is also notable for the bourbon and caramel notes you cannot miss. They are the result of Canadian law allowing bourbon and caramel to be used in the blend, up to a maximum of 9% roughly. This is in contrast to Forty Creek which uses NO grain neutral spirit, NO caramel, and NO other spirits as additives.

Unfortunately, dressing up crown royal in obscure finishes so that it may have the same artisinal allure as single malt scotch does not change what it is, enjoyable neat, just as good as a mixer, and the blend that helped to coin the term "brown vodka".

Not trying to disparage anyone elses opinions, this is just my opinion.

8)
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Re: what is in crown royal?

Postby Mr Fjeld » Sat Apr 04, 2009 7:47 pm

You people got me interested, hence I have to open the Crown Royal I received from a kind Canadian a while ago.
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Re: what is in crown royal?

Postby shulaw05 » Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:00 pm

Bruichladdict wrote:While CR is a very popular whisky, it is important to bear in mind that it is produced using column stills, though the 10-20% which constitutes the flavouring spirit MAY be distilled in copper pot stills. In the fine industrial whisky tradition, they don't tell you much about their product except that it is whisky and aged in wood.

CR is also notable for the bourbon and caramel notes you cannot miss. They are the result of Canadian law allowing bourbon and caramel to be used in the blend, up to a maximum of 9% roughly. This is in contrast to Forty Creek which uses NO grain neutral spirit, NO caramel, and NO other spirits as additives.

Unfortunately, dressing up crown royal in obscure finishes so that it may have the same artisinal allure as single malt scotch does not change what it is, enjoyable neat, just as good as a mixer, and the blend that helped to coin the term "brown vodka".

Not trying to disparage anyone elses opinions, this is just my opinion.

8)


If this is true (and i have no reason not to belive it is), than of the 50+ whiskies that constitute crown royal, not all of them are distilled at the CR distillery in Gimli. does anyone know what bourbon CR uses?
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Re: what is in crown royal?

Postby Bruichladdict » Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:35 pm

I have no doubt that being a canadian whisky, all of the spirit is distilled and aged in Canada. I wouldn't be surprised if it is all distilled in Gimli either. Some of it used to be distilled near my hometown of Windsor in Amherstberg, as TTD mentioned. In fact I grew up just a bicycle ride away from where ALL of the Hiram Walker product was aged in cinder block warehouses. When the doors were opened the aroma was...intoxicating.

Nonetheless, the thing that irks me about most Canadian whiskies is the loosey goosey regulation allowing them to doctor up the product. As I said, CR is enjoyable, it is also very industrial. As for the bourbon, I wouldn't even place a bet on you ever finding out which one they use...most people don't even know they use bourbon in the blend. Again, lack of transparency.

(new edit: just looked up the owners of CR...Wild Turkey Distillery...that would be my guess for which bourbon!)

(another edit: WM info is OUT OF DATE. Owners are currently Diageo, who currently own Bulleit Bourbon...maybe that's the one?)
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Re: what is in crown royal?

Postby The Third Dram » Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:15 am

Bruichladdict wrote:As for the bourbon, I wouldn't even place a bet on you ever finding out which one they use...

A bit of clarification (as well as admitted lack of specific knowledge) is required here.

During the Seagram era of Crown Royal ownership, small quantities of Bourbon were incorporated into some of the lower-to-medium-strata Seagram Canadian whiskies. For instance, it is known that Seagram VO contained a bit of Four Roses in its 'mix'. Given that the Seagram empire actually owned the American operation at that time, this fact becomes more understandable. Nonetheless, it is still not apparent (to my knowledge, at least) that any American spirits were used in the premium Crown Royal whiskies. Nebulous? Certainly! And it is quite reasonable to assume that many Four Roses barrels, once emptied of their contents, made their way into the used cask regimen for maturing the Crown Royal whiskies.

Presently, however, Kirin Breweries presides over the Four Roses brand. And as the corporate connection between that Kentucky enterprise and the current ownership of Crown Royal (Diageo) no longer exists, it is reasonable to assume that the Four Roses link has been severed. (Diageo does, though, market both Bulleit Bourbon and George Dickel Tennessee Whisky.)

And you thought Canadian whiskies were simple! :mrgreen:
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Re: what is in crown royal?

Postby shulaw05 » Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:16 am

good info Bruichladdict, and thanks for the insider knowledge.

TTD, thanks again - i never thought this post would become such a history lesson for CR.
Last edited by shulaw05 on Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: what is in crown royal?

Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:10 am

The Third Dram wrote:Actually, it's been a few years now since we've had the pleasure of visiting New Brunswick. Yet I still have many fond memories of our travels from Saint Andrews up along the Fundy coast and over to Northumberland. Beautiful scenery and simply wonderful people everywhere we went.

Just wish the Fundy waters lapping up onto those spectacularly beautiful beaches were a tad warmer. :wink:

Did you not dip your toe into the Northumberland Strait/Gulf of St Lawrence on the north shore, then? Wonderful warm-water beaches at Shediac, Parlee, Kouchibouguac, water temperatures rising up over 70°F/20°C by summer's end, owing to the shallowness of the Gulf. (Likewise, it freezes up in the winter.) Oh, to return. My peeps were descended from a Seven Years' War veteran who settled in Baie Verte, NB, near the Nova Scotia line.
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Re: what is in crown royal?

Postby The Third Dram » Sun Apr 05, 2009 2:30 pm

MrTattieHeid wrote:Did you not dip your toe into the Northumberland Strait/Gulf of St Lawrence on the north shore, then? Wonderful warm-water beaches at Shediac, Parlee, Kouchibouguac... Oh, to return.

Most certainly did. As well as the lovely dunes and beaches at Bouctouche. Nabbed my very first bottle of Old Pulteney on that trip, too (somehow seemed appropriate). But I'd have to say that the most fun we experienced was when we hopped on an early evening Zodiac out of Black Harbour (along the southern Fundy coastline) for some whale watching. Will get back to NB at some time!
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Re: what is in crown royal?

Postby sku » Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:49 am

The Third Dram wrote:
Presently, however, Kirin Breweries presides over the Four Roses brand. And as the corporate connection between that Kentucky enterprise and the current ownership of Crown Royal (Diageo) no longer exists, it is reasonable to assume that the Four Roses link has been severed. (Diageo does, though, market both Bulleit Bourbon and George Dickel Tennessee Whisky.)


Given that Diageo still purchases Bourbon from Four Roses for its Bulleit Bourbon, I wonder if they also continue to use it in Crown Royal. (I assume Dickel isn't used because they don't even have enough Dickel to meet US demand).
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Re: what is in crown royal?

Postby lancj1 » Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:36 pm

The Third Dram wrote:
Presently, the sole site for distilling those spirits used in composing Crown Royal is the giant complex


That sounds appaling !
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Re: what is in crown royal?

Postby Megawatt » Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:32 pm

What irks me is that because Canadian regulations allow for additives, it is assumed that most distillers use additives to the legal limit. Crown Royal has over a million barrels of whisky at their disposal, and several dozen might find their way into a given blend. I can't see the master blender saying, "What the heck, let's throw some bourbon in their for good measure. What else can we put in? Some of my Diet Coke! After all, it's legal!"

I'm drinking a glass of Special Reserve right now and even when I think about it I don't taste bourbon, or even caramel. It tastes fruity, floral, herbal, spicy...not even all that sweet, compared to some. And given that Canadian whisky is distilled from corn, rye, etc., it should be no surprise even if it does bear some small resemblances to bourbon at times.

Now, to look at the other side of the coin, I too am bothered by the lack of real information regarding the distillation and aging of some Canadian whisky. But I take it for what it is, and enjoy some of it quite a bit. If I knew exactly what was in each bottle I'm not sure that it should affect my enjoyment of it an awful lot.
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Re: what is in crown royal?

Postby The Third Dram » Thu Apr 09, 2009 1:30 pm

Megawatt wrote:But I take it for what it is, and enjoy some of it quite a bit. If I knew exactly what was in each bottle I'm not sure that it should affect my enjoyment of it an awful lot.

Excellent point.

Is it merely 'accidental' that some of the better Canadian whiskies end up garnering very favourable responses (assessed in the company of spirits from other countries) from tasters when their provenance isn't known? Pre-conceived notions can act as powerful influences!
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Re: what is in crown royal?

Postby Bruichladdict » Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:36 pm

Hey, I couldn't agree more with your quality argument, and as I said earlier it is a very enjoyable dram. However, without transparency on the part of the distiller, I don't know what I'm enjoying. To people who don't care, it doesn't matter. To those of us who are trying to hone our noses to look for certain things, it would be nice to have information with which to correlate.

If they use bourbon, they should say so, then we'd try to look for that bourbon's signature. If they don't then we would be able to conclude it comes from New Oak in the blend. The fact that they open up uncertainty as a result of non-transparency is entirely their doing.

BUT...a nice whisky nonetheless.
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Re: what is in crown royal?

Postby Megawatt » Thu Apr 09, 2009 5:32 pm

Bruichladdict wrote:Hey, I couldn't agree more with your quality argument, and as I said earlier it is a very enjoyable dram. However, without transparency on the part of the distiller, I don't know what I'm enjoying. To people who don't care, it doesn't matter. To those of us who are trying to hone our noses to look for certain things, it would be nice to have information with which to correlate.

If they use bourbon, they should say so, then we'd try to look for that bourbon's signature. If they don't then we would be able to conclude it comes from New Oak in the blend. The fact that they open up uncertainty as a result of non-transparency is entirely their doing.

BUT...a nice whisky nonetheless.


Agreed. I hope the rising popularity of single malts and small-batch bourbons has a good influence on the Canadian industry.
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