Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

Worldwide Wednesday Episode 27

The same procedure as last year? The same procedure as every year! 

Every end of November, the “internationally acclaimed whisky authority” (no joke, this is a direct quote from his homepage) Jim Murray crowns the “world’s best whisky”. And while no one cares about his decision, everyone talks about it.

So, this time Mr. Murray awarded the Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye as the “World Whisky of the Year 2016″. A blended rye whisky. From Canada. With no age statement. Needless to say, his decision caused much controversy among whisky fans. Probably even more than last year, when he awarded the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013 as the “World Whisky of the Year 2015″. But hey, he is free to choose what he wants.

Just keep in mind that this is a $30 bottle. So please do yourself a favor and don’t pay hyped prices for it. Just don’t do it. It makes me cringe when I see that some dealers here in Germany want €100 or more for a single bottle.

As for the whisky itself, “Northern Harvest Rye” is actually a pretty clever marketing gag. It sounds like an amazingly special rye variety, capable of withstanding the cold Canadian winter… until you realize that in fact most farmers all over the world plant rye in the fall.

The only thing that makes this whisky somewhat “special” is its mash of 90% rye, which is unusually high for a Canadian whisky.


Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye









Name: Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye
Bottled: 2015
Age: NAS
Category: Blended Canadian Whisky
Distillery: Crown Royal
Strength: 45.0% Vol


Such a weird smell… hay, dried flowers and wholemeal cookies… joined by an artificial sticky sweetness of… I’m not sure… some odd mix of apple syrup and hair spray? Oh, and pickles… sure, why not… hints of caramel and vanillin sugar in the background.


Smooth and floral, but shockingly thin despite the 45%. Butterscotch, nicely balanced by some fruits, but there is also this not so pleasant sticky sweetness again. Then the rye comes through and brings in some spiciness. Also a bit peppery now. Herbal candies and hints of fresh oak appear towards the end.


Pretty short and thin. Caramel and herbal candies, as well as some spicy oak.


An OKish dram… No, really! It’s not that bad..! While the aroma is very polarizing (and not for my liking), the rest is just really thin and uneventful. Not a complete disaster by any means, but ultimately this whisky is nothing special and not even worth the experience, at least in my humble opinion. I’m just not sure how this can be the “world’s best whisky” but hey, what do I know right?

Score: 74 / 100


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