American Whiskey received a significant amount of buzz and attention in 2013. However, Impact Databank reported that its northern cousin also sold 4.3 million cases in the same year. Shanken News reported that Canadian Whiskey outpaced Johnnie Walker in its growth in double digits.
Drink Spirits reported that the majority of success for Crown Royal happened in 2013 when it released Crown Royal Maple. The maple flavoured Canadian whisky attracted even brand loyalists. Additionally, it also attracted new customers. Some of these new customers were apparently moving from flavoured vodka to flavoured whiskey.
Crown Royal was probably expected to release new flavours in 2014. Following the success of maple flavours, it was likely to release more flavours like honey, caramel, peach or cinnamon. However, Crown Royal decided to go upscale with the premium release of the year, Crown Royal XO which is a blended Canadian whiskey with ex-cognac barrel finish. The catch-line says that it is "handcrafted for extraordinary smoothness".
Crown Royal XO comes in the price of $50 per bottle, which means it is priced double compared to Crown Royal Maple which came in 2013. However, Crown Royal XO is still priced half when compared to the super premium series of the line, Crown Royal XR.
It is yet to be made clear how long Crown Royal XO (80 proof/40% ABV) was put in the cognac barrels. However, Drink Spirits presumes that it comes from Hennessy. Diageo has been in a distribution relation with Hennessy. Crown Royal XO comes in dark amber colour. It seems like some addition colour was added to it during its days in cognac barrels.
The aromas of XO include Vanilla, oak and caramel. On the other hand, according to Drink Spirits, oak notes happen to be much stronger and deeper in comparison to others. There are some other unconventional aromas like iris flower, ginger and dried fruit. The XO nose happens to be well integrated without being excessively assertive or strong.