Canada's Crown Royal named 2016 World Whisky of the Year

Dec 20 2017, 2:37 am

For the first time ever, a Canadian whisky has been named the “World Whisky of the Year.”

The honour comes courtesy the popular–and, at times, polarizing–whisky writer Jim Murray, who releases an annual compendium of thoughts on global whiskies.

Murray’s thoughts and rankings are issued in his annual Whisky Bible, a publication the UK’s Whisky Exchange calls “the most eagerly awaited whisky book of the year and always the most controversial.” In the tome, Murray scores and opines upon over 4,700 whiskies from around the globe.

Canadian Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye, however, is tops. Murray scored it a whopping 97.5 out of 100 points (tying a previous record first place score).

“Crown Royal Northern Harvest pops up out of nowhere and changes the game,” said Murray of the whisky in a news release, adding: “It certainly puts the rye into Canadian Rye. To say this is a masterpiece is barely doing it justice.”

In this case, “nowhere” happens to be Manitoba; Crown Royal is distilled there by Gimli.

The news of the award has left the Scots, as the Telegraph puts it in their headline, “reeling.” And they don’t mean doing the traditional dance. “Despite its stellar reputation in the whisky world, not a single Scottish whisky made the top five,” notes the UK publication of Murray’s seeming cold shoulder.

Incidentally, here are the top five:

  1. Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye (Canada)
  2. Pikesville Straight Rye (USA)
  3. Midleton Dair Ghaelach (Ireland)
  4. William Larue Weller Bourbon (Bot.2014) (USA)
  5. Suntory Yamazaki Mizunara (Bot.2014) (Japan)

All that said, Murray’s Whisky Bible happens to have entire categories dedicated to Scotch, so there’s much opportunity for sore Scotsmen and women to drown their sorrows in a high-scoring bottle.


“This year, doubtless there will be many more eyebrows raised because rarely is Canada mentioned when it come to the world’s top whiskies,” explains Murray. “But, again, I have no doubt people finding the bottling I tasted will be blown away with this whisky’s uncompromising and unique beauty. It certainly puts the rye into Canadian rye.”

Crown Royal’s Northern Harvest Rye is made from near 100 per cent rye grain (as opposed to corn or wheat with rye added, as is the norm). The spirit “showcases the rye whisky that has been such an integral component of the Crown Royal Deluxe blend since 1939,” notes Yvonne Briese, Vice President of Crown Royal.

BC Liquor Stores carries Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye. It retails for $29.79 a bottle.

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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