Oh, come on, like I could resist that kind of article title.
A while ago, I responded to an offer to try Crown Royal Black. It’s a new variation of Crown Royal, it lists on the back about being aged in charred oak and blended to a higher proof than regular Crown Royal – 90 proof rather than the usual 80.
A lot of cocktail folks, myself included, tend to decry Canadian whisky. (AUGH NO “E” MY SPELLCHECKER WILL HATE ME.) In fact, just today Robert Simonson wrote an article in the New York Times about how the industry is trying to redeem itself of the reputation as “the vodka of whiskey”. (If you’ve used up your free clicks on the Times site, you can read a version of it on his site.)
For me, though, I also have my family, and certain members of my family are big Crown Royal fans. I thought I should give it a shot – after all, I did doctor up a Crown & Coke recipe for my brother’s wedding. (You can find that in my previous MxMo post here.)
My plan was set: I would introduce the Crown Royal Black to my brother and my dad, and then I’d make I’d a drink with it commemorating the Steelers Super Bowl win. That was a plan doomed to failure if I’d remembered how the Steelers would probably play.
Sigh. At least I’m not a Redskins fan.
So I hesitated but I consider this a good thing because of the NYT article – and I did introduce it to them.
My first impression of it compared to “regular” Crown Royal was that, yes, this is more whisk(e)y-ish. It’s hotter, but it’s got more of a depth of flavor to it than regular CR which just comes off as sweet to me. My dad, tasting it straight, responded immediately with “Yum!”
In a Crown & Coke – well, you can’t tell the different, I’m afraid.
I poked around with some ideas for a drink. None of them really gelled, I’m afraid – perhaps mostly because I was trying to think of something with Strega or yellow Chartreuse to be “black and gold”. You can use the CR Black much more like you could American whiskeys because unlike the basic Crown Royal, it doesn’t immediately disappear in a cocktail, it can actually stand out.
It’s not the most subtle of spirits, but to be honest, it’s a step in the right direction for Canadian whiskys. (Whiskies? Gah. That looks worse.) At $2 a bottle more, I think it’s definitely worth the extra couple of bucks (come on, in Virginia if I remember correctly you’re talking about $24.95 or $26.95 – get the extra taste and proof), but what I’d be most curious about is how Diageo and Crown Royal push this. Can they make a Canadian whisky that balances sweet and spicy, and make it at a good price point?
Hmmm. I have a sudden urge to make an orange juice drink with this. (Runs into kitchen). Want an experiment?
Experimental Crown Royal Black Cocktail:
2 oz Crown Royal Black
2 oz orange juice
3-4 dashes orange bitters
Shake, pour straight into a high ball glass.
Thoughts? Does it deserve a name? Will Gabe make fun of me for using OJ?