Reviewed on Tue 05 Jan, 2016
World whisky of the year for 2016 is Crown Royal's Northern Harvest Rye - their first ever proper rye offering. But does it live up to the hype?
So as everyone already knows by now, Crown Royal's Northern Harvest Rye has taken the Jim Murray's Whisky Bible "Whisky of the Year" award. Jim's choices are more often than not a little controversial and this year's even more so. A $30 rye blend from a massive distillery who concentrates more often than not on the low end of the market? A Canadian whiskey? Really? Well, let's see if this lives up to the hype...
On the nose: Sugary butterscotch tones, vanilla essence, and you can definitely smell the rye with all its spicy peppery backbone. It's really quite nice.
The taste: Sweet. Really surprsingly sweet for a rye and not what I was expecting from something with a very rye-dominant mashbill. Undertones of all spice and lemon peel. The rye is there but it's not a strong rye like I'd normally like... that said it's really very nice. I think non-whisky drinkers would enjoy this. For me it's a nice, inexpensive dram but there's not a lot of complexity in the tasting - nowhere near as much as the nose gives away.
The finish: Moderate and pleasant though fair alcholic burn still comes through from the rye.
Personally... For under $30 in the US (and about £50 in the UK if you can find someone willing to sell it to you retail), it's a great buy. It's not worth whatever stupid amounts of money it's going to go for at auction however. My value for money rating here is based on the US pricing, and at that price ($30 / £23) it's a steal. It's a pleasant drink neat. I tried it in an old fashioned though and it just doesn't stand up - the rye is not strong enough and it's simply too sweet. Does it live up to the hype? In my opinion.. no. It's not even the best rye I had this year, certainly not as good as (r1) Redemption Rye or the stuff coming out of High West.
Personal Rating: 80/100
Value for Money: 87/100
Overall Rating: 85/100