Booze Review

Whisky Review – Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye


Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

As you’re well aware, we like a wide variety of whisky in Booze Dancing country. We don’t care about mash bill, country of origin, or how old it is. Barrel management and storage conditions are also irrelevant. Let me rephrase…

All of this whisky geekery is important and plays a very important role with regards to the finished product, but none of it matters to us when it comes time to have a drink. We’re not married to any brand or style, and will try just about anything. What matters to us is what’s in the glass and how it tastes.

While variety is the spice of our lives, there are others that need a bit more convincing when it comes time to try something new. You’ve met these people before. “I’m a Johnnie Walker Black (or Dewars, Jack Daniels, Jim Beam) guy” is what they’ll say. We have a tough time understanding that mentality since we’re always on the lookout for something new. Speaking of new…

Crown Royal has just released a new rye whisky and they call it Northern Harvest Rye. Here’s what they have to say about it:

As a brand deep rooted in heritage and quality, Crown Royal is proud to introduce its first-ever blended rye whisky, Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye. This offering combines the richness of Northern harvest rye grains with the unmistakable smoothness of Crown Royal to create a perfectly balanced whisky.

“With rye whiskies serving as integral components of the Crown Royal Deluxe blend for more than 75 years, it was a natural and authentic extension to provide our loyal fans a rye offering,” said Yvonne Briese, Vice President of Marketing, Diageo North American Whiskey. “There is also a tremendous growth opportunity within the rye category as consumers gravitate toward quality products they know and trust while experimenting with pre-Prohibition era cocktails.”

The distinct Canadian climate provides the ideal conditions for growing rye grains. This is due to the fact the grains are planted in the fall, then blanketed with snow during the harsh winter months and only finish their growth cycle once they have sprouted throughout spring and summer. The extra time the grains take to fully mature results in flavorful hints of fruit, cloves and spice.

Let’s get on with our review…

  • Appearance: Clover honey color.
  • Aroma
    • Limpd: Not much in the way of alcohol vapors. Some syrupy sugar and a whole lot of rye spice.
    • G-LO: Sweet and herbally with some light brown sugar, allspice, baked apple, cinnamon, and wintergreen.
  • Taste
    • Limpd: Odd mix of flavors. It’s spicy, then sweet, then spicy again. The balance seems a bit off (not bad, just off). Lots of rye sharpness up front (duh!) followed by a little bit of sugar which isn’t overly syrupy. Some vanilla and heat comes through with a relatively mild finish.
    • G-LO: Quite different from the other rye whiskies that we’ve been drinking. While the spicy herbal notes are there, the sweetness is quite prominent. Light brown sugar and cinnamon at the start. Mellows a bit at the middle with that spiced apple coming through. At the finish, some astringency comes through with those herbal notes lingering in the aftertaste.

The Verdict

  • Limpd: I’m not a big fan of rye whisky. That being said, I found this to have just enough rye without becoming just a one note whisky. I had a small issue with the balance, but given it’s reasonable price, I think this is a good buy. Smooth out the balance and this will become a great buy.
  • G-LO: I was pleasantly surprised by the Northern Harvest Rye. I really like the balance of sweet and herbal notes. This whisky was tasty on its own, and at $30/bottle, is a great value. Definitely worth a try.

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Many thanks to Taylor Strategy for sending us this generous sample!

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15 replies »

  1. It’s an O.K. rye whisky, but nothing to write home about. I’m a huge Crown Royal fan, love their drinks, but a couple of their releases weren’t all that great. The Maple and now Northern Harvest Rye left me with a chemical-like aftertaste.I was not impressed. But I still bought it. I can at least add this bottle to my Crown Royal collection of bottles. The only one I’m missing now is the XO (which for some reason can’t be bought in Canada…WTF?!). If it’s a Rye whisky you’re looking for, try Canadian Club – Chairmans Select – 100% Rye. You won’t regret it. Amazing taste, very smooth.

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    • Had to laugh at your comment, since it was just named the best whisky in the world! I still haven’t tried it, but am now anxious to do so. Honestly, I don’t know if it will agree with me either. I’ve never been one for more “traditional” whiskeys, but I love my Canadian rye!

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      • Try it. You might like (or dare I say “love”) it.
        Like I said, I’m a huge Crown Royal fan, but this one just didn’t do it for me. I know what I like, and even if it was just named the worlds best whisky, it still wasn’t my cup of tea, so to speak. To be honest, I plan on buying another bottle of the Canadian Club Chairmans Select 100% Rye, and I want to do a blind taste test to see which one I prefer (Canadian Club Chairmans Select 100% Rye OR Crown Royal Deluxe). Should be interesting. 😉

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          • Well I finally did the blind taste test between Crown Royal Original Deluxe & Canadian Club – Chairman’s Select – 100% Rye; even though this article is about Crown Royal’s Northern Harvest (I guess we strayed just a bit). BUT!!!!! After my blind taste test….wow……Crown Royal Original Deluxe hit this one out of the park. It was no contest. My next taste test will be between Crown Royal Northern Harvest & Canadian Club – Chairman’s Select – 100% Rye. I’m quite sure I’ll pick CC because it tastes really fucking great. LOL. Just saying. 😉

            Liked by 1 person

  2. It is difficult to believe that a $30 Rye whisky can be so liked by Jim Murray to grade it best whisky 2016. Does it have the same complexity of the high-end whiskies??? Really need to try it to find out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t find it to have the same level of complexity as some of the high-end whiskies. I thought the balance could be improved and maybe it needed a little more time in the barrel to improve the finish. That said, for $30, I thought it was a great value.

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