Let’s be honest, the very idea of flavored spirits raises some suspicions, and rightly so. For every one subtly flavored orange vodka that we actually want to drink there are at least 10 highly questionable flavors like toasted marshmallow or pork chop* that we wouldn’t even shoot as a joke. It’s easy to be dismissive. Yet when Crown Royal created a flavored whiskey, Crown Royal Regal Apple, we took notice.
To the uninitiated whiskey and the culture surrounding it can seem a bit stodgy and unapproachable. After experiencing true whiskey connoisseurs argue over the pros and cons of aging with sherry casks for more than a few drams of the spirit it would seem unimaginable that such a culture would embrace the idea of a flavored whiskey. The simple fact that whiskey drinkers are such a hard group to please is what made us realize that this whiskey must be something special—there is no way that Crown Royal would produce an apple flavored whiskey unless they were proud of it. Crown Royal has been working since 1939 to establish their excellent reputation; they weren’t going to tarnish that rep with a half-baked flavored whiskey.
Even before the whiskey hits your lips you know exactly what you are getting into—it has a very strong nose reminiscent of green apple Jolly Ranchers. Yet when the spirit hits your tongue the nose is slightly betrayed; instead of tasting remarkably sweet like the candy related odor would suggest we were delighted to find a smooth and subtly flavored whiskey. The spirit is surprisingly viscous as it coats the mouth with hints of vanilla, caramel, and (of course) apple. The crisp and clear flavor of the apple blends seamlessly with the whiskey, the two flavors compliment each other beautifully.
The whiskey’s versatility allows the Regal Apple to stand out in a way that some flavored spirits can’t. At 70 proof it can be shot but it can also be easily mixed to create cocktails, or it can be sipped and savored. Mix it with cranberry juice and you have a cooling cocktail for the summer or throw in a little hot water and a cinnamon stick and you are ready to curl up by the fire with a blanket.
The process that Crown Royal went through to create the Regal Apple was extensive and precise. You know that feeling of panic you get when looking at the apple section of the produce aisle because there are so damn many different kinds to choose from? Well, the whiskey makers had to go through all of those and then some when trying to pick the perfect type to blend with their whiskey. In the end they decided that the Regal Gala apple was the perfect choice. In an interesting bit of happenstance the Royal Gala strain of apples (of which Regal Gala is a member) was named after Queen Elizabeth II loved them when she visited New Zealand while Crown Royal was created to honor the visit of Queen Elizabeth I to Canada. Regal Gala apples and Crown Royal whiskey were simply meant to be together.
Like all of their whiskeys, Regal Apple is not only beautiful on the inside but comes in an impressive package. The bottle is in the same classic shape as the iconic Crown Royal Deluxe but has ditched the blue bag for a green one that has you thinking apple before the bottle has even been opened.
Cast aside all of the preconceived notions you have had about flavored spirits and give Crown Royal Regal Apple a try, you’ll be glad that you did.
*Pork Chop vodka does not actually exist, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it did. And we would probably drink a lot of it, albeit shamefully.