Canadian Whisky - Rye

Crown Royal Northern Harvest 90% Rye Canadian Whisky

From: Manitoba, Canada Liquor Review Category: Rye Canadian Whisky

Bottle/Rating Data

Rating Description

91st Percentile
This score falls in the 91st percentile of all spirits in the Whiskey category and is an example of the very best in its class.
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San Francisco World Spirits Competition

  • 2015
  • 2016

Beverage Testing Institute

  • This bottle has not been rated by this competition.

Wine Enthusiast

  • 2015

Proof66 Notes

Crown Royal Norther Harvest Rye whisky is in what many would regard as the "Pennsylvania style" of rye with 90% of the grain bill composed of rye grain, suggesting a spicy, robust, dry-styled whisky. Crown Royal is particularly proud of their rye, noting it has been a component of their blends for decades and now offered for rye whisky lovers.

In a first for Canadian whisky of any kind, Crown Royal Harvest Rye was named "Whisky of the Year" by the 2016 Jim Murray Whiskey Bible.

In 2017, Geoff Kleinman of Drink Spirits responded, "Is Crown Royal Northern Rye the best whisky in the world? Absolutely not. It’s a very affable and well constructed Canadian whisky... that will appeal to whisky drinkers looking for something a little more delicate in their glass."

Crown Royal was first produced to in 1939 by Seagram's (then a Canadian company but now defunct with the label owned by Pernod-Ricard) to honor the Canadian tour by British royals King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Crown is probably the most widely known and certainly one of the more widely available Canadian Whisky on the market. Currently, it's the top-selling Canadian whisky in the United States; the brand itself is owned by the Big Liquor Conglomerate Diageo. The distillery itself is, of course, located in Canada. Some may recall a narrowly averted labor strike in 2007 that would--heaven forfend!--have interrupted whisky production. One time produced in Ontario but moved production to Manitoba in 1992.

Rabble Reviews

This bottle has 9 ratings and 9 reviews.
Tango Tango (46) (2016-09-23)
Crown Royal Rye Whisky is overrated by Whisky Bible and overpriced..It is not best whisky in the world and not even close.Its nose is rye, cloves, and little oak. The entry is smooth.The palate is rye bread with caraway seeds, and citrus ending in oak, and brown sugar finish.There are many rye whisky better for less money like Sazerac Rye, Redemption Rye, RittenHouse Rye.and Bulleit Rye. I will not be buying again.
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BDanner BDanner (105) (2016-08-06)
This was on my "to try" list before it was named whiskey of the year, but Mr. Murray bumped it to the top of my list. Picked up a 375ml on my last ABC excursion. This pours in the glass with a light golden straw color. Nose is pleasantly sweet, but alcohol heavy, with a definite rye note. Neat it enters thin and hot with none of the sweet transferring from the nose. Rye bread with a dill pickle note. Dry & Bitter, citrus peel, astringent finish that coats and unpleasantly lingers. It reminds me of my first (and last) taste of a small microbrewery IPA. A splash or a cube or two of ice does bring a touch of sweetness to the mix and reduces, but does not eliminate, the bitter citrus finish. Tried it in an Old Fashioned thinking maybe it would shine as a mixer but the bitter finish is still an issue. I definitely don't feel this is Whiskey of the year material. Glad I only bought the 375ml.
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Review Comments
BDanner (2016-08-06):
I've upped this to a 3 star. As I near the end of my 375ml bottle, I've developed a little more respect for it. Not enough to purchase again (too many other choices for $30 or less), but enough to give it a 3rd star.

Cranecreek (2016-09-10):
Almost purchased this a few weeks back as part of my incursion into Rye whiskeys-but due to reviews (yours included) I decided there were better choices to make.

BDanner (2016-09-12):
While this did grow on me somewhat, there are better rye options around the same price. For barely legal ryes, Rittenhouse and Sazerac are excellent, and of the 95% ryes, Bulleit and James Pepper 1776 are the best of these I've tried.

mynoseknows mynoseknows (33) (2016-03-17)
not sure why it was so acclaimed by the whiskey bible guy.
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stevendepolo stevendepolo (3) (2016-02-28)
Very smooth sipper with lots of flavor
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Spezbaby Spezbaby (39) (2015-10-22)
Smooth and relatively light for rye, which I guess is typical for Canadian whisky, but I didn't think it was great.
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degbert degbert (147) (2015-07-26)
Here's the deal: I wanted to hate this. I hate the ongoing worship of Crown Royal by liquor purchasers (especially in Texas). I want to force them to buy other...better....things. But this isn't a bad rye. It's rye with training wheels, yes; it's overly smooth and subtle, and it disappears when mixed. But straight it's recognizably rye and definitely tasty. Consider it a gateway rye.
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tnmike1 tnmike1 (38) (2015-07-26)
I'm a lover of Crown Royal so thought I'd try this. What a surprise. Great flavor and now drink with a splash of Fiji water. Hey if you're drinking premium booze drink it with a splash of natural glacier water
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Muncher Muncher (263) (2015-07-04)
Based on the numbers and the appearance I thought/hoped that this would be another exception in the crappy Canadian trend, just like the delicious Crown Black. The label looks great. The bag it comes in is neat. It's 90% rye and 90 proof, so I was expecting something bold, spicy, and flavorful. Ultimately though I was let down. The nose is very sharp; you have to be careful because it will singe your nose hairs and burn your nasal cavity. Even with the two 90's I mentioned above it seems a little watery and low on flavor. I wouldn't call it bland, but it's not far off. It still has a hint of that recognizable "Canadian sour" on the palate. The finish is the best part. It leaves a minty, malty, dry, refreshing taste in your mouth for nearly a minute after swallowing. It's not a bad whisky, it's certainly better than most Canadian's, but it's nowhere near as good as the Crown Royal Black.
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Kenmei Kenmei (11) (2015-06-23)
This is easily the smoothest Rye I've ever tasted. It's not the best Rye I've ever had and I don't think I'd recommend it to the Rye enthusiast who is looking for a new, cheaper Rye choice right now. But it certainly does a good job at holding its own in the Rye market and a good first attempt by Crown at making a Rye.
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