Crown Royal has a proud history in Canada, created the year King George VI and Queen Elizabeth first visited Canada. The occasion is the stuff of Canadian legend. To mark the 75th anniversary of that visit in 2014, Crown Royal released this celebratory whisky. As with many blended whiskies all over the world, it is difficult to find specific information about what the exact mixture is, but rumor has it that of the 50 or so different whiskies Crown Royal has to draw from, there is a greater amount from their Coffey still rye and created by Master Blender Andrew Mackay. Along with being very popular in Canada, Crown Royal is the best selling Canadian whisky in the US market. This Crown Royal Monarch, like all royalty, comes with a golden crown.
The Laphroaig 18 Year was initially released in 2009 to replace the old 15 year. The spirits business being ever-changing, the 15 year came back as a special release to celebrate the distillery’s 200th anniversary in 2015. We loved it. After only several years on the market, the 18 year was scuttled at the end of 2016 to make way for the reintroduction of the 15 year (again) as a yearly Friends-of-Laphroaig Cairdeas release. While it’s good to see Laphroaig still hanging on to age statements in the current marketplace, the further limiting of its aged stock means the aged offerings we do have available will be harder to find and, in all likelihood, more expensive. If you can find a bottle of the Laphroaig 18 Year, we heartily recommend you pick one up.
The Balvenie are large and successful enough to not only keep their full stock of standard offerings in full swing, they’re also keen on playing with all the elements available in whisky production to create more limited offerings. The Balvenie 14 Year “Peat Week” is so named because the distillery has apparently been distilling peated whisky since 2002 for one week a year. Hitching their cart to the transparency train, Balvenie does a brilliant job of listing exactly what week in any given year this scotch was distilled during, along with some particulars about how peat characteristics are imparted to whisky in general. While not part of their standard lineup, it appears that Balvenie is poised to make this scotch a regular or semi-regular offering, even if only ever in limited quantities.