Meanwhile, up in Canada, Diageo’s small, heel nipping startup distillery called Crown Royal released Northern Harvest Rye whisky earlier this year. Should be interesting, as Canadian whisky has been trying to grow from the top down, meaning the premium category has seen quite a few new bottlings in recent years. Crown Royal is doing something that perhaps only Crown Royal can do, as Northern Harvest, being around $30.00 at retail, was released along with a cask strength single barrel rye in upwards of $50.00. The reason why is simple: Crown Royal’s facility is housing about 2 million barrels of aging spirit. And when you have that kind of stock, you can do anything you want. On to some particulars…
Northern Harvest Rye isn’t exactly some special type of rye, imparting some exotic type of space age flavor, it’s just rye grown in Canada. Rye, being the stout, scrappy grain it is, can thrive well in harsh climate conditions, being planted and sprouting in the fall, surviving the winter, and fully grown and harvested in late summer. It’s just rye. The label states that this whisky is 90% rye, which doesn’t reveal much about its precise composition, except to say that this is most likely one of 5 core whisky grain bills produced at the Gimli facility that is at least 90 percent rye or it is all rye but with additives. What the other 10% is, who knows. One surprisingly good thing about this whisky, other than the great price, is the fact that it is bottled at 45% ABV. Very positive! On to it…
Nose- Youthful rye spices of mint, herbal garden and cloves. Orchard apples and unripened peaches. Bubblegum. Gentle overall and light.
Taste– Calm with rye character of pepper and clove with some light sugary sweetness.
Finish- Short bubble gum with a dash of barrel char.
Comments- Definitely a young whipper snapper, but with little depth of flavor. Decent mixer. Works well in a tumbler.
SWC Rating- 75/100
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