To make the standard Crown Royal, the company's master blender draws from a large number of whisky casks maturing in the warehouse, which in turn represent various distillates. This bottling, priced at almost double the already-premium Canadian blend, is in a sense more akin to Scottish single malt. The distillate came entirely from Crown Royal's revered old Coffey still in Gimli, Man., where a mash-bill combination of corn, rye and barley grains yields liquid before which even many foreign whisky experts genuflect. (Run-of-the-mill Crown Royal includes just a small proportion of the Coffey rye.) Then it's matured in new American oak, another departure for Canadian whisky in general, which tends to rely on a large proportion of used barrels for a more subtle oak stamp. In that sense, then, this also could draw an analogy with American bourbon, which is predominantly distilled from corn and entirely aged in new American oak barrels.
Bottled at a bracing 45-per-cent alcohol, Blender's Select is big – very big – on toffee-vanilla characters, with a buttery, creamy texture and an assertively spicy note. It's neither as punchy as most barley-based single malts nor as charred as most bourbons. Call it Goldilocks whisky, Canadian-style. Available exclusively in Ontario LCBO stores.