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

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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Hennessy Cognac sweeter than Crown Royal?

Hennessy Cognac and Crown Royal are both distinct spirits with unique flavor profiles, and their sweetness levels can vary based on personal taste perceptions and the specific expressions of each brand.

Generally, Hennessy Cognac tends to have a richer and more complex flavor profile with pronounced fruitiness, spice, and oak notes. While some expressions of Hennessy may have subtle sweetness from the grape distillate used in cognac production, it is often balanced by other flavors such as oak, vanilla, and spice.

On the other hand, Crown Royal is a Canadian whisky known for its smoothness and approachable flavor profile. Crown Royal typically exhibits sweet and fruity notes, with flavors such as caramel, vanilla, and dried fruit being prominent. Some expressions of Crown Royal may have a more pronounced sweetness compared to certain expressions of Hennessy Cognac.

Ultimately, whether Hennessy Cognac is sweeter than Crown Royal depends on individual taste preferences and the specific expressions of each brand.

Which is better for beginners, Crown Royal or Hennessy?

Both Crown Royal and Hennessy are popular spirits with distinctive flavor profiles, and the choice between them for beginners depends on personal taste preferences and drinking experience.

For beginners who prefer a smooth and approachable spirit with sweet and fruity flavors, Crown Royal may be a better option. Crown Royal is known for its easy-drinking nature and versatility, making it an excellent introduction to whisky for those new to the category. Its sweet and mellow flavor profile is often well-received by beginners and experienced drinkers alike.

On the other hand, Hennessy Cognac offers a more complex and nuanced drinking experience, with flavors ranging from fruity and floral to spicy and oaky. While some beginners may appreciate the depth and richness of Hennessy Cognac, others may find it more challenging to discern its complex flavor profile without prior experience with spirits.

Ultimately, the best choice between Crown Royal and Hennessy for beginners depends on individual taste preferences and willingness to explore different flavor profiles.

How Do Crown Royal and Hennessy Compare in Terms of Flavor Profile?

Crown Royal and Hennessy are both renowned spirits with distinct flavor profiles, influenced by factors such as ingredients, production methods, and aging processes.

Crown Royal typically exhibits sweet and fruity flavors, with prominent notes of caramel, vanilla, and dried fruit. The whisky’s smoothness and approachability make it popular among drinkers seeking a mellow and easy-drinking spirit. Some expressions of Crown Royal may also feature hints of oak, spice, and nuttiness, adding complexity to the flavor profile.

On the other hand, Hennessy Cognac offers a more complex and layered flavor profile, with a rich and velvety texture. Hennessy Cognac often showcases fruity notes such as orange, apricot, and grape, along with floral undertones and hints of spice. The cognac’s aging process in oak barrels contributes to flavors of vanilla, caramel, and oak, adding depth and complexity to the palate.

In summary, Crown Royal is known for its sweet and fruity flavor profile with a smooth finish, while Hennessy Cognac offers a more complex and nuanced drinking experience with rich fruitiness, floral notes, and subtle spice. The choice between Crown Royal and Hennessy depends on individual taste preferences and the desired flavor experience.

Are There Any Differences in Production Methods Between Crown Royal and Hennessy?

Yes, there are significant differences in the production methods between Crown Royal and Hennessy due to their respective categories as whisky and cognac:

Ingredients: Crown Royal is a Canadian whisky made primarily from corn, rye, and barley grains. The grains are mashed, fermented, distilled, and then aged in oak barrels. Hennessy, on the other hand, is a cognac produced in the Cognac region of France. It is made from grapes, specifically Ugni Blanc grapes, which are fermented into wine and then distilled twice in copper pot stills.

Distillation: After fermentation, Crown Royal whisky is distilled using column stills, a continuous distillation process that produces a lighter and smoother spirit. Hennessy cognac undergoes double distillation in copper pot stills, which helps concentrate flavors and aromas, resulting in a more complex and aromatic spirit.

Aging: Crown Royal whisky is aged in oak barrels, often American oak, for varying periods depending on the expression. Hennessy cognac is aged in French oak barrels, typically Limousin oak, for a minimum of two years, although many expressions are aged for much longer to develop richer flavors and complexity.

Blending: Crown Royal is known for its blending process, where different aged whiskies are combined to achieve a desired flavor profile. Hennessy also employs blending techniques, combining eaux-de-vie (grape spirits) of different ages and origins to create a consistent and harmonious blend.

Overall, while both Crown Royal and Hennessy undergo fermentation, distillation, and aging processes, the specific methods and ingredients used are unique to each category of whisky and cognac.

Which Occasions Are Best Suited for Drinking Crown Royal or Hennessy?

The choice between Crown Royal and Hennessy for different occasions depends on personal preferences, the desired drinking experience, and the context of the event. Here are some suggestions:

Crown Royal: Crown Royal is well-suited for casual and social occasions, such as gatherings with friends or family, barbecues, sporting events, or relaxed evenings at home. It’s also a popular choice for celebratory occasions like birthdays or holidays. Crown Royal’s smooth and approachable flavor profile makes it enjoyable for sipping neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails.

Hennessy: Hennessy is often associated with more formal and sophisticated occasions, such as elegant dinners, cocktail parties, or special events. It’s also a popular choice for toasting milestones or achievements. Hennessy’s complex and nuanced flavor profile lends itself well to sipping neat or in classic cognac cocktails.

Ultimately, the best occasion for drinking Crown Royal or Hennessy depends on individual taste preferences, the mood of the event, and the company you’re with.

Can Crown Royal and Hennessy Be Used in Cocktails, and If So, Which Ones?

Yes, both Crown Royal and Hennessy can be used in a variety of cocktails to showcase their unique flavor profiles. Here are some popular cocktails featuring each spirit:

Crown Royal Cocktails:
Whisky Sour: Mix Crown Royal with fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and a dash of Angostura bitters, shaken with ice and strained into a glass.
Crown Royal and Coke: A simple and classic combination of Crown Royal and cola, served over ice with a lemon or lime wedge.

Royal Flush: Combine Crown Royal with peach schnapps and cranberry juice for a fruity and refreshing cocktail.

Hennessy Cocktails:
Hennessy Sidecar: Mix Hennessy with Cointreau and fresh lemon juice, shaken with ice and strained into a sugar-rimmed glass.

Hennessy Manhattan: Combine Hennessy with sweet vermouth and a dash of Angostura bitters, stirred with ice and strained into a chilled glass, garnished with a cherry.

French Connection: Mix Hennessy with amaretto liqueur for a smooth and indulgent cocktail, served over ice.

These are just a few examples of cocktails that feature Crown Royal or Hennessy, but there are countless other recipes to explore based on your preferences and creativity. Whether enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails, Crown Royal and Hennessy offer versatile and flavorful options for any occasion.

Are There Any Limited-Edition Releases or Specialty Bottlings from Crown Royal or Hennessy?

Both Crown Royal and Hennessy frequently release limited-edition bottlings and specialty expressions to appeal to collectors, connoisseurs, and enthusiasts:

Crown Royal: Crown Royal regularly releases limited-edition variants, special blends, and collector’s editions. These may include unique flavor profiles, special packaging, or collaborations with artists and celebrities. Examples of Crown Royal’s limited-edition releases include Crown Royal XR, Crown Royal Noble Collection, and Crown Royal Reserve.

Hennessy: Hennessy is known for its prestigious and exclusive cognac releases, including limited-edition bottlings, collector’s editions, and special collaborations. These may feature rare or aged eaux-de-vie, unique cask finishes, or commemorative packaging. Examples of Hennessy’s specialty releases include Hennessy XO, Hennessy Paradis, and Hennessy Master Blender’s Selection.

These limited-edition releases from Crown Royal and Hennessy often generate excitement among consumers and collectors and may be sought after for their rarity and unique characteristics.

Which Brand Is More Widely Recognized: Crown Royal or Hennessy?

Both Crown Royal and Hennessy are widely recognized spirits brands with global appeal, but their recognition may vary depending on factors such as geographical location, cultural preferences, and marketing efforts:

Crown Royal: Crown Royal is one of the best-selling whisky brands globally, particularly in North America, where it has a strong presence in the United States and Canada. Crown Royal’s iconic purple bag packaging and smooth, approachable flavor profile contribute to its widespread recognition among whisky drinkers.

Hennessy: Hennessy is one of the most well-known and prestigious cognac brands worldwide, with a rich heritage dating back over 250 years. Hennessy’s distinctive bottle design, commitment to quality, and association with luxury and sophistication have helped solidify its reputation as a symbol of status and refinement.

While both Crown Royal and Hennessy enjoy significant recognition and popularity within their respective categories, Hennessy’s long-standing reputation as a leading cognac brand and its global presence may give it slightly broader recognition on an international scale.

Is Crown Royal a top shelf whiskey?

Crown Royal is often considered a premium whisky brand, but whether it qualifies as a “top shelf” whisky depends on individual perceptions and preferences. “Top shelf” typically refers to the highest quality and most expensive spirits available, often reserved for special occasions or discerning consumers.

While Crown Royal offers a range of expressions, including some premium and limited-edition bottlings, it may not always be classified as “top shelf” compared to ultra-premium or luxury whisky brands with higher price points or exclusivity. However, certain Crown Royal expressions, such as Crown Royal XR or Crown Royal Noble Collection, may be positioned as top-tier offerings within the brand’s portfolio.

Ultimately, whether Crown Royal is considered a top shelf whisky can vary based on factors such as its pricing, availability, reputation, and the specific preferences of whisky enthusiasts.

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!


  1. Cognac alcoholic beverage
  2. Alcoholic Beverage
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