Liquor Laboratory

Crown Royal vs Hennessy: What’s the Difference? (2024)

Crown Royal vs Hennessy

Hennessy and Crown Royal are two different types of liquors originating from different parts of the world.

However, both are popularly known to have sweet and smooth tasting profiles that people love worldwide, so choosing between these two can be confusing. 

Fortunately, our team decided to give an honest review and in-depth comparison of Crown Royal vs Hennessy. Keep reading to know which bottle wins.

Crown Royal vs Hennessy

Bottles of Crown Royal and Hennessy

Crown Royal is a Canadian whisky that has been around since 1939. It is made with a blend of 50 different whiskies, giving it a unique flavor profile that many people enjoy. 

Crown Royal is also known for being very smooth, making it easy to drink straight or on the rocks.

On the other hand, Hennessy is a French Cognac produced since 1765.

Unlike Crown Royal, Hennessy follows a strict rule to be labeled as Cognac, giving it a unique, rich, and complex flavor only found in Cognac. 

Hennessy is a bit harsher than Crown Royal, but with its more intense and richer profile, Hennessy is a better mixer than Crown Royal.

Crown Royal varieties are separated into three main lines: the signature, flavored, and master series.

Hennessy, on the other hand, uses letters that represent its quality. The most common is the V.S. (very special), the youngest variety.

Head To Head Battle 

History & Origin

Crown Royal was first introduced in 1939 to celebrate the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

The product remained exclusive for Canadians until 1964 when it was first exported outside the country.

Richard Hennessy founded Hennessy in 1765. Its first shipments hit New York by the year 1794.

Since then, the global distribution of the product has surged greatly, and they have become important in Cognac’s history.

Production Process 

copper stills

Crown Royal is made of five different mashbill recipes, all undisclosed. Approximately 80 percent of the grains used (corn, rye, and barley) are locally sourced from Manitoba and other nearby provinces.

Crown Royal Canadian whisky is bottled at 80 proof (40% ABV).

On the other hand, Hennesy is a Cognac, which must follow strict French Law to be labeled as one. [1] Hennessy uses Ugni white grapes, pressed and fermented, to become wine.

The wine goes into a double distillation using Charentais copper alembic stills to become an eau-de-vie or “water of life.

The liquor is then aged in French oak barrels and blended afterward. The final result is a palatable Cognac of 80 proof (40% ABV). But does Hennessy go bad?

Aging Process & Age Statement

Both liquors have no age statement, but Hennesy is aged in French Limousin oak.

These barrels are rotated during the process and are placed in particular cellars to accumulate the desired characteristics.

Crown Royal is aged in either new or re-used charred oak barrels until deemed for satisfaction.

The final product is a blend of more than 50 full-bodied whiskies blended to create the masterpiece.

Alcohol Content

Both liquors are bottled at 80 proof or 40 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) and are considered strong liquors.

Though they have high alcohol content, both brands are well-known to be smooth, flavorful, and extremely drinkable. More on Hennessy’s alcohol percentage here.

Canadian Whisky vs Cognac

Crown Royal Bottles on Top of a Wooden Table

Canadian whisky and Cognac are two different types of spirits, but both are well-loved by people worldwide.

Technically, they are both just products of fermentation. Canadian whisky is made from fermented grains, while Cognac is made from fermented grapes. 

Cognacs are products from Cognac, France, that uses their quality grapes as the main ingredients, while Canadian whisky showcases high-quality grains in their spirits. 

Canadian whisky should only be made in Canada, while Cognac can only be labeled as Cognac if made in Cognac, France.

Tasting Notes 

Crown Royal Canadian Whisky

  • Palate: Soft and creamy with subtle notes of vanilla, ripe fruit, clove, and oak
  • Color/Hue: Light to golden amber
  • Nose: Hints of vanilla, fruit, and spice with an almost untraceable indication of alcohol 
  • Finish: Long finish with traces of caramel, chocolate, and toasted oak.

Hennessy Cognac 

  • Palate: Smooth and mellow, with flavors of oak, vanilla, and dried fruits
  • Color/Hue: Clear, bright amber
  • Nose: Subtle hints of brown sugar, almonds, and fruits
  • Finish: Long, sweet, and smooth floral-like finish

Ownership & Distillery

Bottle of Hennessy Cognac

Diageo, the multinational beverage company, owns Crown Royal. The Canadian whisky is distilled in Gimli Distillery at the edge of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba.

Diageo is a giant beverage company with over 200 brands and operates in more than 180 countries.

On the other hand, Hennesy Cognac Distillery, located in Cognac, France, continuously distills Hennessy and is passed down to its 8th generation. 

Moët Hennessy owns the brand and is the leading supplier of Cognac worldwide.

“The idea was to get closer to consumers and also to better serve them,”

Laurent Boillot, CEO of Hennessy Cognac

Price & Value

Crown Royal’s Flagship brand, Crown Royal Deluxe, costs around $42 per liter (Drizly), which is more affordable than the Hennessy V.S.Cognac (also the flagship brand of Hennesy), which costs around $49 per 750 ml (Drizly).

Hennesy has deeper roots in the spirits industry, which dates back more than two and a half-century.

The greater reputation also gives Hennesy more price and value to their products.

Are There Similarities?

Yes, there are similarities between both brands. Both are products of fermentation, although they have different ingredients. [2] 

Hennessy and Crown Royal are the final products of blended alcohol that are aged in wooden barrels.

Both have smooth and mellow profiles with the same alcohol content at 80 alcohol proof.


Is Hennessy Cognac sweeter than Crown Royal?

Both are equally sweet, and it’s difficult to tell which one is sweeter since they are two different liquors.

Hennessy’s sweetness can be described as fruity or floral, while the Crown Royal is creamy with notes of vanilla and oak.

Which is better for beginners, Crown Royal or Hennessy?

Crown Royal is better for beginners than Hennessy. Both drinks are smooth, but Hennessy has some intense flavor notes that might not appeal to a newbie.

Final Say

There is no clear winner when it comes to Hennessy vs Crown Royal. Both are high-quality liquors that offer a smooth, enjoyable drinking experience.

However, Crown Royal may be the better choice for those looking for a smoother option, while Hennessy may be the better choice for those looking for a more robust flavor.

If you have already tried both, share with us what you think and leave a comment below. Cheers!


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