Thanks to /u/EvilAFI for the sample.
The Orphan Barrel series is an interesting idea: Simply put there’s older casks of whisk(e)y that are released. And the vast majority have been bourbons. Older than normal. Not too expensive, but kinda expensive.
Barterhouse was the first one, and between the cool fox on the bottle and the actual tasting whiskey inside people were interested. As time went on there were mixed reviews, people not enjoying some releases, and frankly I heard enough negative to stick with cool fox and not go further.
Then, while on a chat with fellow whisky nerds, one of them said a new whisky was coming out from Orphan Barrel, and that it was a 25-year-old Canadian said to be from Crown Royal’s whisky stores. And it’s name was Orphan Barrel Entrapment.
I laughed so hard I got even weird looks than I normally do from my coworkers. This was a funny joke. The idea that a series that I felt wasn’t typically worth it that was bait for taters to buy and try to flip were releasing an older column still / probably mostly single grain that was most likely not hyper aged nor aged in first fill casks… well all that speaks to being tricked into buying something to punish them via immoral means.
Then later he showed me the bottle and I was like “Wow, this guy’s really good at this joke” and then later he actually explained it wasn’t a joke.
So… let’s try it then, shall we?
Price: £ 375
Colour: 5Y 7/8
Nose: Maple, papaya, caramel, nutty
Oh thank goodness that typical maple note was there, otherwise my Canadian pride would be hurt and I’d have to get my beaver in for a tuneup (for free).
That said, nice tropical note. Bit light, though nothing rough on the nose, which is nice for a grain whisky.
Taste: Butter, maple, alcohol, melon
Oh, there’s the rough note. Some raw alcohol. More sweet notes. Generic melon.
I do enjoy the butter though. Granted that’s built into my DNA.
Finish: Earth, mineral, bitter vegetal note, toasted almond
Nice finish actually. My sarcasm above notwithstanding (clause), I really enjoy the complexity here. If I was a betting man, I’d say the Bills would sweep the year, and lose all my money.
Oh and that this was bottled solely for the nice finish.
Conclusion: Nicer finish than typical Crown Royal. That’s what you’re having here. OB Crown Royal typically have a nicer nose for the more expensive ones, and this is the opposite.
Look, I probably have met the person who originally laid this whisky down, and I want to give them some credit: Crown Royal is meant to pump out lots and lots of whisky that people just enjoy the standard flavours of. When the barrel gets “orphaned” and you find it, it’s like driving an old Model T: Yes it’s impressive because it’s a 100+ year-old car, but it was made for humbler roots and you’re not showing up to a drag race with it.
There’s no Cognac finish or higher amount of “the good mix” or single cask pick here for Texas. The product is being overpriced and I can’t fault Crown Royal for that. It’s meh. It’s Entrapment, purely, and they are laughing at you now. Skip.
World Whisky review #402, Canada review #133, Whisky Network review #2008