Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel Review

Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel Review

Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel is Crown Royal’s entry into the single barrel game. It’s their way of becoming one of the cool kids and offer us a glimpse into what’s happening inside that distillery of theirs one barrel at a time and you know what… I like that. I know it’s not a major advancement or anything, but it’s a new take on an old whisky and sometimes that’s all you need.

The Crown Royal we all know is a massive blend of different whiskies of different ages and is blended to try and achieve a specific aroma and flavor profile, where as this is just a single component of those massive batches. To make matters even a little more special the whisky in these single barrels are exclusively distilled using their old Coffey rye still and aged in new charred oak. So it’s not just a single component, it’s one of their more premium components.

Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel Info

Region: Manitoba, Canada

Distiller: Canadian Royal
Mashbill: 64% corn, 31.5% rye, and 4.5% malted barley
Cask: New oak
Age: NAS
ABV: 51.5%

Cask Strength | Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color

Price: $55*

Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel Review

EYE
Toffee

NOSE
Rich caramel, vanilla, butterscotch, spice, dark fruit and crushed smarties. It has an overall character that reminds me of a Caramel Machiatto from Starbucks, which is a really weird association to be popping into my brain because it’s been at least 7 years since I had one.

PALATE
Spice, caramel, vanilla, red fruit, toasted grain, woody notes and marshmallows. The flavor doesn’t trigger the same association as the nose, but provides another shock instead… it’s good. I wasn’t expecting that. It’s been about 5 few years since I’ve had the regular Crown Royal, but I don’t remember it tasting anywhere near this good.

FINISH
Long and darkly sweet accompanied by light notes of red fruit, wood and nuts.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Excellent balance, round full body and a thick slick feel to it.

OVERALL
Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel is good… at least this barrel anyways and being a single barrel the experience will change from barrel to barrel. But for a project like this brands tend to cherry pick the barrel samples they send out to stores. Putting their best foot forward and all of that.

This sample is rich and full across the nose and palate – I had a hard time not just downing the entire sample in one sitting. I’m simultaneously shocked and happy that this tastes as good as it does. I’ve tasted a bunch of terrible Canadian Whiskies lately and it’s nice to taste something that’s the polar opposite of that. Definitely getting a bottle of this if someone locally gets a barrel since that seems to be the only way to get it outside of Texas or Canada.

SCORE: 89/100

*Disclosure: This sample of Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel was graciously sent to me by the company for the purposes of this review. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.

Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel Review - Score Breakdown
  • Nose - 90
  • Palate - 88
  • Finish - 89
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 89

Value

Canadian Royal Hand Selected Barrel is coming in under $60, which is a good deal for a great tasting cask strength whiskey.

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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5 Responses to Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel Review

  1. But the single barrel from which your sample came ISN’T one component of the massive batches that make up the other Crown Royal whiskeys. I don’t think you are aware of the fundamental difference between how Americans make whiskey and how Canadians do it, and thus don’t realize how much of a radical departure this Hand Selected Barrel thing is from let us call it “The Canadian Way.” CRHSB has a mashbill, and you specify the percentages of grains that went into it. Traditionally there is no such thing as a mashbill in Canadian whiskey. The concept of mixing grains together into a mash and then distilling from that mash is American and alien to Canadian whiskey making (or was before CRHSB). The Canadian Way is to separately distill individual whiskies from 100% corn, 100% rye, 100% malted barley, and 100% wheat, and then produce a finished product for sale by blending the separate whiskies together in the desired proportions. For their HSB project, Crown Royal had to literally throw away the book on how to make Canadian whiskey and copy the “American Way.”

    Also, in Canada, we can’t get the CRHSB. Not yet. Outside of the province of Alberta, liquor distribution in Canada is tightly regulated and basically in the hands of government bureaucrats. You know how slow government bureaucracies move. (And we can’t order any alcohol on-line and have it delivered by mail.) I don’t know about Alberta, but the rest of Canada will probably get CRHSB some time after it is everywhere in the US.

    • Thanks for the detailed info. I do know that traditionally Canadian Whisky is made with each component separately and figured that these were mixes of the corn, rye and barley distillates blended in those ratios (giving the blended whisky that combined mashbill) before being put into casks for aging. CR didn’t give too much detailed info on their site so I was going off of what other reviewers had reported which was that it’s a single component of the bigger blend. Interesting to know it’s actually a massive departure.

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