The Rare Finds Gift Guide: Crown Royal XR

Crown Royal XR Canadian Whisky

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When it comes to holiday gifting, there are times where you just feel the need to swing for the fences.

Perhaps you’ve got a big client that you’re very much “looking forward to continuing business with in the coming year.” Perhaps you’ve got a significant other who has resigned you to a doghouse you’d like to emerge from sooner rather than later. Perhaps you’ve just had a helluva year (or several) and money just isn’t an object.

Any way you slice it, you’re in need of a true showstopper of a gift. Not only something of truly superlative quality, but something with a story: a gift that will cause its recipient to swoon and blush every time someone invariably inquires, “Damn, where did you get that?

And thus we bring you the Rare Finds Gift Guide, a handy compendium of holiday swag for just about any type of person on your list (or, perhaps, if you’re just in the market for yourself; no judgment).

This installment concerns Crown Royal XR Extra Rare, some of the rarest liquid to ever come from the storied Canadian brand.

What Makes It So Darn Special?

A man who appreciates the scarce and superlative deserves a drink that fits the bill — something not only of the highest quality, but also with that bit of satisfaction that comes with knowing that it exists in a finite quantity.

Enter Crown Royal XR Extra Rare, the second edition to the storied Canadian brand’s Extra Rare series and crafted from one of the final barrels of whisky saved from the now ghost LaSalle distillery.

Located on the island of Montreal, LaSalle was opened in 1924. LaSalle closed for distilling in 1993, but the whiskies produced there have attained a reputation for being exceptionally rich and full-bodied.

Crown Royal XR Whisky

LaSalle holds a historic place in the whisky world and is incredibly special to me, because it’s where I first learned about creating memorable blends. To be able to incorporate these Extra Rare LaSalle whiskies into the new Crown Royal XR is an honor.

Crown Royal Master Blender Andrew MacKay

“Every distillery has its own personality and characteristics,” says Stephen Wilson, the Director of Whisky Engagement for Crown Royal. “A majority of the remaining whiskies from our LaSalle distillery were traditional rye whiskies. Crown Royal has always produced an exceptional rye as a component for our blends, and our blenders were able to craft a unique whisky using these remaining liquids as the heart and soul.”

We’ve now come to the end of the renowned liquid produced at LaSalle — using these precious final reserve batches, Crown Royal Master Blender Andrew MacKay (who, incidentally, began his career as an apprentice at LaSalle) has created an exquisite, full-bodied blend featuring notes of honeyed pear and dried apricot, finishing with touches of cocoa and brown sugar. A damn fine dram if we’ve ever tasted one.

And when LaSalle’s extremely limited stocks run out — which Crown Royal estimates will happen within the next year — this release is finished. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Who’s It For?

The booze enthusiast who always seems to have some sort of interesting anecdote regarding the glass he/she is handing you — in addition to the story around XR and LaSalle, another fun tidbit is that the history of Crown Royal itself begins when King George VI (yes, he of The King’s Speech) and Queen Elizabeth visited Canada in 1939 and a special whisky was commissioned in their honor. That whisky was Crown Royal — great cocktail party fodder.

Anything Else Worth Mentioning?

Well, now that you ask: It also bears noting that this is the only Crown Royal release featuring a royal blue update to the brand’s iconic velvet bag (to “echo the regal nature” of the whisky) — for a special touch, said bag can be personally embroidered for the recipient at crownroyal.com/whisky-gifts.

Ok So What’s the Damage?

Roughly $140 a bottle. While the quality and scarcity of XR result in a price tag over twice that of the average Crown Royal release, we’d say that’s still plenty giftable (and certainly well worth it) for any whisky aficionado on your list.

Crown Royal XR Canadian Whisky
Crown Royal XR Blended Canadian Whisky, 40% Alc/Vol.
The Crown Royal Company, Norwalk, CT


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