Editor’s Note: Yes, this is a real whiskey. No, we aren’t entirely serious in this column. Yes, there is a point to be made here though, so read between the lines to get what we are talking about.
I cannot remain silent about this any longer. In the weeks since word leaked out about Diageo’s new Crown Royal Bourbon Mash Blended Canadian Whisky, I have grown increasingly alarmed about people who cannot understand that Crown Royal Bourbon Mash Blended Canadian Whisky is an AFFRONT to our national SOVEREIGNTY, a cynical and cowardly ploy to steal our NATIVE HERITAGE, a GRAVE THREAT to AMERICAN DEMOCRACY, and a dastardly undermining of our NATIONAL SECURITY.
Or maybe not. Here are the facts as we know them.
On May 4, 1964, by a joint resolution, the Congress of the United States declared that “Bourbon whiskey is a distinctive product of the United States and is unlike other types of alcoholic beverages, whether foreign or domestic.” It further directed the “appropriate agencies of the United States Government” to “take appropriate action to prohibit the importation into the United States of whisky designated as ‘Bourbon whiskey.’”
The frontline defense in our war against the illegal immigration of ersatz bourbon is the United States Treasury Department’s Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Labels for all alcoholic beverages sold in the United States, whether foreign or domestic, must receive a Certificate of Label Approval (COLA) from the TTB before they can be sold.
TTB rules clearly state, “that the word ‘bourbon’ shall not be used to describe any whisky or whisky-based distilled spirits not produced in the United States.”
Despite the clear violation of our MOST SACRED Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits, the TTB initially granted a COLA for Crown Royal Bourbon Mash Blended Canadian Whisky, then changed its mind. Or ‘came to its senses,’ as you prefer. (We call for a PROMPT INVESTIGATION into how the original miscarriage was perpetrated and hope that those responsible will be summarily purged.)
By the time TTB realized its error and asked Diageo to surrender the label, the entire release was planned, produced and poised for rollout. TTB is letting it go ahead but if Diageo wants to keep selling the product after one year, they must change its name and label.
COLAs are public information, searchable on the web. They usually are submitted far in advance of the planned release, so information based on the COLA spreads throughout the enthusiast community long before official publicity for the rollout begins. Information also gets out via distribution channels. Crown Royal Bourbon Mash Blended Canadian Whisky won’t be released until sometime in March.
What is Crown Royal Bourbon Mash Blended Canadian Whisky? A blended whisky is a combination of several different whisky types. Typically, one of them is a bourbon-type whiskey, a corn-heavy mashbill aged in new charred barrels. In Crown Royal Bourbon Mash Blended Canadian Whisky, that bourbon-type whiskey is front and center. The rest of the blend is like a typical Canadian whisky.
What does it all mean? Has the existential threat been extinguished? Are our hallowed liberties safe from foreign aggression? Perhaps, perhaps not. Just remember, freedom isn’t free. Neither is Crown Royal Bourbon Mash Blended Canadian Whisky. It will run about $30 for a 750 ml bottle.
Charles K. Cowdery is an internationally renowned whiskey writer, specializing in American whiskey. He is a Kentucky Colonel (Patton, 206) and a member of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame (2009). He is the author of multiple bourbon books, including Bourbon, Strange: Surprising Stories of American Whiskey, and is a...