May 2016 Archives

Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

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crownroyalnhr-001.jpgFor a few weeks in late 2015 Crown Royal's Northern Harvest Rye whisky was making headlines around the world as Jim Murray's "World Whisky of the Year 2016" in his yearly Whisky Bible. His pronouncement sparked controversy in the industry and curiosity among consumers to seek out the whisky from Gimli, Manitoba. While Murray was criticized roundly by "whisky experts" and afficionados for being intentionally "controversial" as a way to both garner attention for himself and sell copies of his book, his full-throated praise for Northern Harvest Rye was readily received by the general public who were eager to try the latest and greatest on the Canadian whisky landscape. 

In a classic rhetorical reversal, Mr Murray opined: "to be honest, I had been considering actually demoting Canadian whisky from having its own chapter in the Bible The quality of Canadian has been disappointing me for some time with too many non-whisky products, like fruit juice or wine, being added to give a softer flavour...Then Crown Royal Northern Harvest pops up out of nowhere and changes the game..To say this is a masterpiece is barely doing it justice." Made with a higher proportion of rye than typically found in mass-market Canadian whisky, Northern Harvest Rye boasts an impressive 90% rye content and is bottled at a respectable 45% ABV.

Within days, shortages of Northern Harvest Rye were being reported all across Canada as seemingly everyone wanted to get a bottle or two for the upcoming holiday season and see "what all the fuss was about." Here in Ontario, 96,000 bottles of the stuff were sold in December and it wasn't until February 2016 when stocks were replenished in the LCBO. While we gave it a mention as a "topical conversation piece for your whisky-loving friend" in the 2015 Gift Buyer's Guide as we weren't able to give it a full review at the time of publishing. Now that the dust has settled and the fervour has cooled, it's time to give this whisky a somewhat sober second look.

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Recent Comments

  • Ryan commented on Legacy Lost: The Macallan 1824 Series:

    It's a damn shame that they decided Canada wasn't worthy of the original age-statement line. I looked high and low for bottles of The Macallan Cask Strength (one of their best ever IMO) and the 12 yr expressions and was able to find a couple in the USA a few years back. I bought a bottle of The Macallan 12 yr when I was in Sweden last fall and I was reminded just how delicious this whisky is compared to the Legacy line.
    You're right, it's worth hoarding!

  • Ryan commented on Talisker 10 years old:

    John, I can't say that I'd recommend a dip in the North Atlantic but I admire your courage! :) Thanks for the feedback.

  • John commented on Talisker 10 years old:

    Thank you for a great review! I enjoy comparing Talisker's lighter peatiness to Lagavulin 16.

    I appreciate your "brine" and "salty" descriptions. I visited the distillery last summer and took a cold plunge into the water off of a beach on the Isle of Skye. The cold, salty waves slapping my face and lips were like Talisker splashing on my tongue!

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