At a recent tasting for Crown Royal whisky, Atlanta-based journalists received royal treatment when we were introduced to Crown Royal’s portfolio of spirits: Deluxe, Black, Reserve, Cask No. 16 and XR (Extra Rare). The event was held at Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse at Phipps Plaza in Atlanta’s Buckhead area.
The host offered a tasty, refreshing summer treat during the networking hour. The cool cocktail was spiked with Crown Royal Deluxe and Limoncello plus sweet iced tea and simple syrup, which was on par for the hot summer evening. It was accompanied by generous helpings of passed hors d’oeuvres.
Once the majority of our invitation-only party arrived, we ventured into the private dining room where we were greeted by the restaurant’s manager and a duo of specially-appointed servers. The Crown Royal Deluxe, Black, Reserve and Cask No. 16 whiskies were poured in old-fashioned glasses adjacent to a stemmed-glass of water. A bowl of ice and a bowl of lemons were on the table as well.
“It’s important to hold the whisky on your palate to allow the flavor to sink in,” offered master of whisky Ed Adams, as he provided instructions to the new Society of the Crown inductees, a community of connoisseurs with a shared enthusiasm for the esteemed whisky. He explained that water added to whisky opens the whisky up and lowers the alcohol flavor. Soda, on the other hand, alters the flavor.
Adams, one of just 15 masters of whisky, answered a host of questions, including “What cocktail can I make with Canadian whisky?” “When should I drink it neat?” and “What are the best food pairings to bring out the flavor?”
We enjoyed flavors that ranged from spicy vanilla and caramel to butterscotch, velvety to creamy.
Then (drum roll, please), the servers presented us with a snifter and poured a shot of XR, which is limited edition and was made from the last batch of whisky from their Waterloo distillery. It retails for more than $100 for a single bottle.
The rare blend didn’t disappoint. It boasts of extra-aged ryes and bourbons. Definitely one to put away for special guests.
As the evening came to a close, we chatted up Adams, on a one-day trip from California, while we munched on beef sliders, fruit and spring rolls. –yvette caslin