I know several folks who think that CR is the creme de la creme of whiskey. Some drink it straight and some put it in Coke. These are first rate people and good friends for whom I would be willing to go a long way.
I have given them a sip or two of excellent bourbon, but they are loyal to CR and they seem to expecially like my CRXR. I gave up half a bottle at my last outing............and have no regrets (not much anyway).
Well, boys and girls, it is a beautiful day in the neighborhood today and even though it is not cool here in Georgia today, let me slip on my cardigan sweater cause it just makes me more comfortable.
Now, can you say 'old whiskey' (at least, it's been in the bottle a long, long, time)?
Well, today, courtesy of Joe Luka, I have a treat for you. I have some 1954 CR that was given to me a while back by Joe (thanks, Joe). No, I am not going to put it in some Coke, I am going to look at it, smell it, and then drink it.........side by side with some of the current CR and then I will tell you what I think about it.
I am drinking from two of the same type glasses which are small, on a short stem, and more or less tulip shaped.......the bowl being slightly fuller than the rim.
The color of the 1954 CR is just a bit darker. Both are straw colored and appealing looking. The 1954 CR has is just a touch more viscous and its 'legs' maintain their hold on the glass for a while longer.
The noses of the two CRs are quite similiar, but the '54 is richer and deeper and 'fills' the nose with more aroma. Both are soft and though only 80 proof, still require a few moments in the glass for the alcohol to dissapate. Both have a mild citrus aroma and both also give up a bit of rye, the current CR has just a tad more. The aromas of the barrel are more prominent in the '54, as the color led one to suspect. For the nose of this writer, that adds to the depth and complexity of the '54. The oak warms the spirit with its hint of vanilla and char.
After about 30 minutes untouched in the glass, except for the ocassional swirling, both give more of themselves.
The taste of the current is quite light, with only a little sweetness quickly overcome by a zippy spiciness that holds on from the middle of the mouth on back. My friends love to use the word 'smooth' in regard to CR, and it is that........so smooth in fact, that I might just slip on it.........not much there for this old bastard to get any traction on.
The taste of the '54 Cr is deeper, richer, and better by an order of magnitude than the current CR. While I don't expect that it would ever become one of my favored whiskies, something has been lost in CR whiskies over the last 50 years.........a better, more complex taste. Does make me wonder about American whiskies over the same time period.
Since my CR loving friends did not completely demolish my CRXR, I could not resist the temptation to throw it up agin the '54, especially since it is claimed that the XR contains some 50 YO whiskies from an old stock (50 years in the barrel, not in the bottle).
The XR nose is closer to the '54 than to the current CR. While the XR doesn't seem any 'richer' or more viscous than the '54, it is what I would call more delicate and sweet. But the sweetness is not an upfront sweetness, it becomes apparant as it crosses the mouth, unlike (in my experience) most whiskies where the sweetness is experienced most strongly in the front of the mouth.
So, you ask, is CRXR superior to the '54 CR? For this old fart, CRXR remains an extraordinary whikey, full of sublety, complexity, and sophistication. I like it as much as I did upon first tasting and will be damned if I share my last quarter bottle just because it is 'smooth'!!!
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas