Crowning Achievements

Mark DeWolf

Crown Royal, one of Canada’s stalwart Canadian Whisky brands came to the world’s attention last year when its Northern Harvest Rye was awarded the 2016 World Whiskey of the Year by Jim Murray.

“Rye, that most eloquent of grains, not just turning up to charm and enthral but to also take us through a routine which reaches new heights of beauty and complexity,’ he said. ‘To say this is a masterpiece is barely doing it justice.’

Part of the team behind this crowning achievement was Joanna Scandella, Crown Royal’s Master Blender and part of the Blending Quality Team behind Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye.

Scandella’s duties as Master Blender include all things whisky with a focus on blending, sensory and innovation, as well as guiding the development of the next generation of whisky blenders.

Joanna is passionate about her role and is very proud to be part of the team which creates the Crown Royal family of whiskies, as well as being a Brand Ambassador, recognizing it is a privilege to work with great people and great whiskies.

Joanna lives in the Montreal area. We asked Joanna about the secrets behind the success of Crown Royal.

Crown Royal has a more than 75-year long history. How does a brand such as Crown Royal stay true to its tradition in terms of flavour profile?

Joanna: The Crown Royal family of whiskies is blended to taste – to match the sensory standard – and to have great quality and consistency year after year; this is our first and foremost goal, which is why we create one annual formula for each brand. Our main tool is our senses, which we develop through years of mentoring and practice. The ways of working are passed down from master blender to apprentice; this is the way it has always been and continues today.

Tastes in whiskies are constantly evolving. How has Crown Royal responded to changes in consumer demand?

At Crown Royal, we recognize that the consumer today is loyal to the brand and also wants to have new experiences. We have created innovative products, whether it be enhancing the Crown Royal whiskies with amazing notes and flavours such as apple and vanilla, or creating a brand new whisky blend such Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye, where we focused on the rye whiskies, the essence and spirit of Canadian whisky, which has resonated in Canada and worldwide.

What was the inspiration for creating Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye?

We have always wanted to create a Crown Royal blend with a rich, spicy rye profile. Whisky takes time to mature and develop its richness and smoothness.

For this reason, we have been putting away whiskies for years — specifically for innovation — and it was time to create the blend with the rich, spicy rye profile to add to our Crown Royal family of whiskies of which we are so proud.

To make a great rye whisky, we have to start with great ingredients, including grain, water and yeast. Add to that the expertise of the distillery and years in oak to mature and to develop the spicy flavourful notes.

As Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye is a blended whisky, we can combine and layer our different whiskies to create a sum greater than its parts.

A big change recently has been the renewal of whisky cocktail culture. How has this inspired you in what you produce?

Absolutely. The new flavours and notes introduced with Crown Royal Apple, Vanilla and Northern Harvest Rye have created energy and excitement across the whisky culture and proves to us that innovation is all about great taste, and to continue to explore new possibilities.

Do you have any favourite Crown Royal cocktail recipes?

I do. They include our Crown Royal Vanilla Lime Mule, Crown Royal Manhattan and Crown Royal Northern Buck.

Crown Royal Vanilla Lime Mule

1 Serving

  • 1 1/2 f oz Crown Royal Vanilla
  • 3/4 fl oz fresh lime juice
  • 3 fl oz ginger beer
  • Lime wheel
  • 2 dashes aromatic bitters

Directions: Combine Crown Royal Vanilla and lime juice in a shaker, add ice. Shake well and strain into a highball glass over fresh ice. Top with ginger beer, two dashes of aromatic bitters and garnish with a lime wheel.

Crown Royal Manhattan

1 Serving

  • 1 fl oz Crown Royal Deluxe
  • 1/2 fl oz sweet vermouth
  • 3 dashes bitters
  • Maraschino cherry

Directions: Place ingredients in a shaker, add ice. Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. This cocktail can be served on the rocks or over ice. Garnish with maraschino cherry.

Crown Royal Northern Buck

1 Serving

  • 1 1/2 fl oz Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye
  • 3/4 fl oz fresh lime juice
  • 3 fl oz ginger beer
  • Lime wheel
  • 2 dashes aromatic bitters

Directions: Combine Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye and lime juice in a shaker, add ice. Shake well and strain into a highball glass over fresh ice Top with ginger beer and garnish with lime wheel and two dashes of aromatic bitters.

Occasions Recommends

  • Crown Royal Deluxe, 750 ml, $29.99
  • Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye, 750 ml, $34.99
  • Crown Royal Vanilla, 750 ml, $30.99

Next Week

We craft cocktails with Alberta Premium Canadian Rye Whisky.

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