Canada: The Land of Hockey, Maple Syrup and the Best Whisky in the World
The best whisky in the world doesn’t come from Scotland and it doesn’t come from Ireland. It doesn’t come from the United States or even from Japan. In fact, it comes from Canada of all places. In the 2016 edition of “Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible”, the famous whisky writer rated Crown Royal Harvest Rye the best whisky in the world with a rating of 97.5 out of 100.
The strangest part isn’t that it was a Canadian whisky (in recent years, a lot of great whiskies have come out of Canada), it’s that it was from Crown Royal and will only set you back $29.99 for a 750ml bottle. Who knew the best whisky in the world was reasonably priced for any budget?
A Royal History
While it’s a surprise that their Harvest Rye was rated as the best whisky in the world, Crown Royal is far from an unknown distillery. Founded in 1939, Crown Royal has been proudly crafting whisky in Canada for the last 72 years. The company was named to pay homage to the first ever visit to Canada by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. This was the first time the monarchy ever visited the country after they became an independent nation. In honor of this momentous event, a Canadian whisky maker decided to craft a whisky which would be known as Crown Royal. That’s how the famous whisky ended up in the iconic purple bag that we see today. It’s a whisky fit for a king.
Crown Royal was initially packaged into 100 cases. “Of those, 10 cases were placed aboard the trains carrying the royal couple across Canada,” says Yvonne Briese, VP of Marketing for Crown Royal. “Crown Royal was so appreciated, it was decided that more should be made and available for sale.” Crown Royal started selling in Canada around 1941 and was released in the United States in 1962.
The distillery is located on the western shore of Lake Winnipeg in the tiny hamlet of Gimli in the province of Manitoba. This is where generations of whisky makers have crafted Crown Royal. All the work is finally paying off with their new Northern Harvest Rye rated as the best whisky in the world for 2016.
On top of the aforementioned whisky, Crown Royal also produces a number of other whiskies. These include: Crown Royal Deluxe, Crown Royal Black, Crown Royal Reserve, Crown Royal XO, Crown Royal XR, Crown Royal Regal Apple and Crown Royal Maple.
A Rise in Rye
There has been a significant rise in trade and consumer interest in North American Whisky and rye consumption has more than doubled in the past two years. “As adults continue to pursue quality whiskies and classic cocktails from brands they trust, Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye was created to open up new occasions for Crown Royal fans to drink their favorite brand,” says Briese. Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye was first released in Spring of 2015.
What’s in it?
Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye is blended Canadian rye whisky, comprised of 90% rye whiskies. “Like most great blends, to ensure that our whisky has the traditional Rye flavor, with the trademark Crown Royal smoothness, our Master Blenders use small amounts of other whiskies to achieve the right balance and finish.” Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye is Crown Royal’s first-ever blended rye whisky and it pays homage to its northern roots. “The whisky is special because it provides us the opportunity to share one of the key components of our Crown Royal Deluxe whisky with consumers.,” says Briese.
The Best Way to Drink It
Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye can be enjoyed on the rocks or as the key ingredient in a number of traditional rye cocktails including an Old Fashioned or Manhattan. “Whichever way you decide to enjoy Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye, please do so responsibly.”
Briese believes that even without receiving such high praise from Jim Murray, consumers were already drinking Northern Harvest Rye and many other ryes on the market. “Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye is an exceptionally smooth whisky blended from 90% rye whisky resulting in a deliciously flavorful and extraordinary rye.” She says that this whisky provides adult consumers, home-mixologists, whisky aficionados and bartenders alike, with a high-quality rye option when they’re looking to create or enjoy a classic rye cocktail. “It also allows fans of Crown Royal to enjoy their favorite brand during additional occasions.”
Canada Gets the Respect it Deserves
Canadian spirits are more than just light, un-aggressive whisky. There are many delicious, spicy rye whiskies coming out of the country. The time is right to give Canadian whisky the respect it deserves. “We look at Canadian Whisky as a part of our ever-growing North American Whiskey portfolio,” says Briese. “The growth and interest for the entire category is fueled by a mindset that whiskey is more approachable than in years past.” With the resurgence of classic cocktails, such as the Manhattan and Old Fashioned, consumers have a lot more options and reasons to responsibly enjoy whiskey, including Canadian Whisky.
Canadian whisky has experienced a recent surge in popularity throughout the last year, which in much part is due to the overall growth of the entire North American Whiskey category. “North American Whiskey is on fire and new consumers are entering the category and experiencing it in unique and exciting ways, as seen with the resurgence of cocktails and the growth of flavored and rye whiskies.” Consumer interests and tastes are bringing them into the category as they search for products rich in tradition, quality, craftsmanship and substance.
Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye being named World Whisky of the Year has really ignited conversation and excitement around Canadian Whisky and they are thrilled with the positive engagement the category has received. “One person who’s been at the forefront of those conversations is Canadian Whisky expert Davin de Kergommeaux – his passion for the category and everything he’s doing to make sure it receives the recognition it deserves has been really great for all Canadian Whisky brands, including Crown Royal.”