Unless you spent 2021 under a rock, you’ve surely heard of Barrell Seagrass. On paper, it appears as if the Swedish Chef decided to craft a whiskey. Get this. KY, IN, TN, and Canadian rye finished in Martinique Rhum, Madeira, and apricot brandy casks. Bork, bork, bork!
Pour: Barrell Seagrass
Age: not stated
Nose: orchard fruit, almond pastry, floral honey
Taste: candied pear, spiked fruit cocktail, sweet spice
Finish: moderately long – vanilla creme, syrupy citrus, delicate oak
Overall: Well, I’ll be a Muppet’s uncle. This is delicious! “Whiskey of the Year?” Ehh. $80 well spent? Arguably. But no doubt delicious. If you’re looking for a uniquely sweet rye with loads of orchard fruit and elegant spice and oak, this is your jam.
Rating: Chef’s kiss.
Who could forget 2016’s “Whisky of the Year?” A lot of folks, apparently. In an age when people are hoarding 4-year sourced bourbon bottled by Costco, Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye literally collects dust. What gives–actually, who cares? It was a $25, no-hassle purchase.
Pour: Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye
Age: not stated
Nose: honey-lemon, vanilla frosting, fruit salad
Taste: sugar wafer, citrus & floral notes, lightly toasted coconut
Finish: moderate length w/ baking spice, Necco wafer, faint oak & pepper
Overall: I wouldn’t consider Northern Harvest Rye an awards contender, but damn if it ain’t half bad. Seriously, I could see myself buying this whisky again. It’s well-balanced, pleasantly sweet, and sprinkled with a fair dollop of spice. Works for me.
Rating: Royal Ryet.
For years, Pendleton 1910 was a bottle often seen but never purchased. After tasting a generous sample, I enjoyed it enough to acquire a bottle for myself. $40 for a 12-year Canadian rye whisky … not bad. Sure, it’s only 80 proof, but ABV alone hardly defines quality.
Pour: Pendleton 1910 Canadian Rye Whisky
Age: 12 years
Color: rich amber
Nose: woody honey, Necco wafers, cream soda
Taste: vanilla syrup, gentle oak, mild baking spice
Finish: moderately short – maraschino cherry, brown sugar, rye bread
Overall: Quite satisfying. In many ways, a darker, woodier, creamier Crown Royal Reserve. I wouldn’t call 1910 Rye a bourbon substitute, but the sweet oak character is certainly relative. If WhistlePig’s rye isn’t your jam, Pendleton is a worthy alternative.
Yesterday, I shared my thoughts on the widely popular Crown Royal Deluxe. Today, I’m tasting the similarly specced, yet doubly priced Crown Royal Reserve. The Reserve expression touts itself as a “hand-picked” blend of the producer’s “best barrels.” *The* best? We shall see.
Pour: Crown Royal Reserve Blended Canadian Whisky
Age: not stated
Nose: vanilla syrup, apple peel, salted caramel
Taste: toffee drizzle, toasted oak, light baking spice
Finish: moderate length – singed marshmallow, creme brûlée, nutmeg
Overall: If these truly are the best barrels Crown Royal has available, I’m unimpressed. Blown smoke aside, Crown Royal Reserve is a decent blended whisky. Definitely more complex and interesting than the Deluxe expression, though I’d appreciate more for $50.
Rating: Lady B.