Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye $27 and 93 Points

Yes, that Crown Royal. Seldom seen, but often overlooked is this exceptional rye from a producer whose image is, for better or worse, linked to purple velvety draw-string sacks that come with their most popular bottling. While boutique producers are making ryes of eye-popping potency and distorted characteristics, Crown Royal pulls off a reference point rye at a price point that - in today's whiskey marketplace - is nearly laughably modest. This crowd-pleasing rye has something for everyone: warming wood, rye's typical pepper offset by subtle streaks of vanilla, and a smoothness that accomplishes what every spirit aspires to: drinking enjoyment. Two things make this bottle worth seeking out: Straight down the middle stylistically, it manages to deliver terrific quality without pandering to trendiness, and it's under $30. 93 Points (Purchased)