June 12, 2014 – 2014 marks the 75th anniversary for Diageo’s Crown Royal Canadian Whisky, and master blender Andrew Mackay has created a special blend for the occasion. Crown Royal Monarch 75th Anniversary Blend is a limited release that will be available in the U.S. for a recommended retail price of $75 (750ml bottle), and includes Rye whisky distilled using a traditional Coffey still at Crown Royal’s distillery in Gimli, Manitoba.

“It’s an act of pure creation,” Mackay told WhiskyCast’s Mark Gillespie in a June 19 telephone interview. “You’re sitting there and you’re thinking about what people would like…you’re able to look at all the bits and pieces and say ‘I can use this up entirely and don’t have to worry about it’. That was the fun part…the challenge is always to make something that people would like…we thought about it a lot and tasted a lot of different things, and in the end, we decided to go with something that was quite flavorful.”

Listen to Mark Gillespie’s interview with Andrew Mackay:

Crown Royal’s history dates back to 1939, when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited Canada and crossed the country by train. Seagam’s Edgar Bronfman had his blenders create the whisky, which was packaged in purple bags — 10 cases were presented to the royal couple for their party’s use during the trip. The whisky was branded “Crown Royal” after the trip and was available exclusively in Canada until 1964, when Seagram’s started exporting it worldwide. Crown Royal eventually became part of Diageo’s portfolio following a series of corporate mergers.

Unlike that original Crown Royal, the 75th Anniversary edition will be packaged in a silver cloth bag with gold accents. However, unlike the original, it will not be sold in its home country of Canada, with sales limited to the U.S. market exclusively.

Tasting notes will be available soon.

Editor’s note: This story was updated following an interview with Andrew Mackay on June 19. 

Links: Crown Royal