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Crown Royal: Bourbon Mash

Posted on by Eric Burke

I used to work with a guy that almost no one in the company liked. He'd been there forever and was extremely enthusiastic about the job and the mission of the company. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that after a while his habit of going around the proper channels to get his pet projects done started to grate on my nerves as well. Especially since, though he had a lot of enthusiasm, he didn't have nearly as much talent as he thought he did. Unfortunately for him, everyone knew this fact about him, including the higher-ups. As such, he got shuffled from position to position until he was finally let go in the first of many rounds of layoffs that the company went through. Apparently, after he lost his job, he had a hard time of things and ended up taking his own life. 

While he was still with the company, he had a piece of paper taped up in his cube where he and passers-by could see it. It had three simple words on it: "Assume positive intent." Something about that simple reminder to be empathetic made a big impact on me. It was a key point in adopting my "don't be a dick" philosophy. I wish I could tell him how big of an impact he has made on my life. I feel bad that after this long, I can't even remember his name. 

I thought of this tonight when I was doing a little research on tonight's whisky. This one received a lot of flack from the self-proclaimed "consumer advocates" of the whisky community. See, the TTB originally approved the label for this whisky even though it was in clear violation of the standards of identity (§5.22 (l)). I will be kind and assume that these "consumer advocates" really think they are doing a public good by going after these companies. And they probably are having a positive effect. But from the outside, it sure does seem that they love the "gotcha" moment, appearing to assume that every company is out to pull a fast one and that the regulators are corrupt, stupid, incompetent, or some combination of the three. 

I will, however, choose to "assume positive intent." The description on the label is technically correct. It is a Canadian whiskey distilled from a bourbon mash. The fact that it is also a prohibited use of the word bourbon? Sure, it may have slipped past someone on a bad day. Hell, people make mistakes. Even marketing people. (If I got fired from every job where I made a mistake, I'd have never kept one.) That the TTB then came back to Diageo and revoked the approval and asked them to surrender it makes it a non-issue to me. So Diageo gets to sell it for a year based on the agreement with the TTB. Then it goes away and becomes a piece of trivia for hardcore whiskey nerds. And a collector's bottle for those who think it will become a collector's bottle.

But now on to the important question: How does it taste?

Crown Royal Bourbon Mash

Purchase Info: $26.99 for a 750mL bottle at Savage Liquors (Hy-vee), Savage, MN.

Details: 40% ABV. Non-age stated (but to be called whisky Canadian whisky has to be at least three years old).

Nose: Delicate. Caramel, vanilla, mint and almond.

Mouth: Thick, almost syrupy mouthfeel. Tingly spice. Nutty sweetness.

Finish: On the short side of medium. Gentle spice. Lingering notes of nuts and cocoa. 

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Thoughts: This is alright. Not great, not terrible. It splits the difference between a bourbon and a Canadian whisky. Unfortunately, when I'm in the mood for a bourbon, I want a bourbon, and when I'm in the mood for a Canadian whisky, I want Canadian. That said, this is fine, but it doesn't really have a place on my shelf. 


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