How about that—one more sign that Canadian distillers are innovating. One of the long-time knocks against Canadian whisky is that it can legally be made with a high proportion of neutral grain spirits (nearly pure alcohol). Such blending makes them light and easy to drink, but rather drab.
That’s not the case here. These two new whiskies are nearly all whisky (90%).
Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye (90 proof) is a mild rye, with pepper and red fruit notes. Anyone new to Rye whisky migth consider starting their tasting experience with this one. It is less peppery than typical ryes. Sip it neat or put a cube in it. It goes for around $30 a bottle. (Good)
The Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel Rye is a hefty 51.5% ABV (103 proof). Whoa–this $55 rye is much more flavorful and fiery than the 90 proof version, and it packs a surprising fig note. (Rating: Good)
If you can, give them both a try side-by-side. It is an interesting taste experience.