Nose: Vanilla, oak, caramel, raisins, tobacco leaves and plums.
Taste: Light and soft with vanilla, caramel, baking and rye spices.
In 1939, Bertie and Liz, decided it was time to take a trip. But where to go? Never having been to Canada before, this seemed like a great choice. Bags packed, they arrived in Quebec. I don’t know if they’re were Frequent Traveller Points Programs because if there were, they would have racked up a ton. They visited every province as well as the Dominion of Newfoundland. The trip went well. Everyone had a blast. Of course, when the time came to bringing home souvenirs, Bertie thought inside the box – ten actually. Yup, ten cases of whisky. Bertie and Liz, being King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The whisky was Crown Royal Deluxe which was created specifically for him.
Crown Royal is ubiquitous. It most likely was in your parents’ liquor hutch or on the bar shelf. And the soft and fuzzy purple bags were almost always repurposed to carry marbles, toy soldiers, Lego, etc. It’s still the best-selling Canadian whisky and one of the top selling whiskies in the world.
This particular expression, the Wine Barrel Finish, is the second release from the Noble Collection. The last 6 months of this whisky’s residency is in Cabernet Sauvignon Barrels. It’s bottled at just a smidge over 40% abv at 40.5%. Technically, half a smidge. One full smidge is one percent. Five smidges equal one bit. Anyway, before we get sidetrack by the imperial system of weights and measures, let’s pour a dram.
The copper-hued dram is light and soft on the nose. Vanilla very much introduces itself first; however not in an in-your-face approach. Caramel too is top of nose. Hints of raisins and tobacco leaves are discernible. You don’t have to overturn the whole proverbial house to find them but they’re also not at the front door as soon as you walk in. There’s a nice fruit basket quality to it with plums making up the majority of the pickings. In the mouth and down the throat, vanilla and caramel lead the way. Again, light and soft in delivery. But there’s more, rye and baking spices add a little bit of edges of this soft whisky. Enough to notice but not enough to overpower. More polite and reserved. The flavours and spicy tingles don’t linger too long, though. Sure, it’s rude to overstay one’s welcome but I wouldn’t have minded if the Wine Barrel Finish hung out a little longer. We got along pretty well.
Chances are, you’ve had a CR and cola or a CR and ginger-ale. Judging by the sales, it’s probably safe to say most of us had. Yes, you can do likewise with the Wine Barrel Finish. Here though, I’d suggest enjoying it neat as to not water down its history. Cheers.