Though it caused an international sensation when it was named the best whisky in the world in November, the Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye has fallen short of being deemed the best in Canada.
That honor goes instead to Lot No. 40, which was named Canadian Whisky of the Year at the sixth annual Canadian Whisky Awards held in Victoria, BC this week.
Lot No. 40 is a rye whisky distilled in Windsor, Ontario.
It's a big upset, given Crown Royal's headline-grabbing win in November when leading whisky expert Jim Murray pronounced the modest $30 bottle the best in the world — the first time a Canadian whisky won the top prize in the Whisky Bible.
For the awards, Murray tasted 1,000 new whiskies.
But on Thursday night, experts found a Canadian whisky they liked better, as Lot No. 40 emerged the winner in the blind tasting conducted by whisky writers, bloggers and journalists.
To qualify for the awards, whiskies had to be distilled and matured in Canada.
A recent review published on thewhiskywash.com heaped praise on Lot No. 40, for leaving "a wonderful, rich mouth-feel with a full, spicy character."
"An initial light brown sugar sweetness transitions to a dry mid-palate full of rye bread, black pepper, brine, and a mouthwatering sourness, like a deli pickle. The finish is amazingly long and savory with the numbing quality of cloves and capsaicin on top of toasted oak, rye grain, and dusty cinnamon," reads the review.
It's not the first time Lot No. 40 has won the title of best Canadian whisky. In 2013, the bottle was named Canadian Whisky of the Year by the Whisky Advocate.
"This is one powerfully flavorful whisky that boldly mingles the galvanizing piquancy of distilled rye grain with the soaring floral fragrance of malted rye, and a fruitiness that comes with age," judges wrote at the time.
The Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye didn't go home empty-handed, however, as it was given the Award of Excellence for Canadian Whisky Profile.
Canadian Club 100% Rye was also named ‘Sippin' Whisky of the Year.'
A 750ml bottle of Lot No. 40 retails for about $40.
For all the winners, visit CanadianWhisky.org.