Last Updated on October 15, 2023 by Lydia Martin
If you’re anything like us, you know that choosing the right whiskey can be a delightful yet daunting task. Today, we’re here to pit two of the most popular whiskies in the world: Jim Beam and Crown Royal.
Now, we’re not just relying on hearsay or marketing tactics – the entire Liquor Laboratory team has savored these two iconic whiskeys and scrutinized every unique flavor.
We’ve tested them in cocktails, on the rocks, and even pulled out the snifters for a late-night alcohol-tasting session.
Keep reading if you’re curious to discover which one emerges victorious in this whiskey showdown.
Here’s a thorough comparison of Crown Royal vs Jim Beam, so you finally know which bottle deserves a spot on your home bar. Cheers, and let’s begin!
Jim Beam & Crown Royal Compared
Comparing Jim Beam to Crown Royal is like pitting American bourbon against Canadian sophistication.
Jim Beam, the American classic, offers a robust and slightly sweet flavor profile featuring hints of vanilla and oak. It proudly represents the rugged tradition of American bourbon-making and is often a go-to for cocktails like the timeless Old Fashioned.
“Jim Beam: Where tradition meets taste.” – Liquor Laboratory
The Canadian contender Crown Royal is a smoother, more velvety drink on the palate. It’s known for its elegance and finesse, bringing a touch of Canadian flavor and regality to your glass as you sit and sip.
Crown Royal is perfect when you want to slow down and savor your whiskey. It also holds up surprisingly well in mixed drinks.
Jim Beam Bourbon vs Crown Royal Cheat Sheet
|Aspect||Crown Royal||Jim Beam|
|Type||Canadian whisky||Kentucky bourbon|
|Country of Origin||Canada||USA|
|Mash Bill||5 different mash bills||75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley|
|Aging Process||At least 10 years||At least 4 years|
|Alcohol by Volume||40%||40%|
|Price Range||Around $40||Around $25|
|Distillery Location||Kentucky, USA||Manitoba, CA|
|Cocktail Recommendations||Crown and Coke||Old Fashioned|
|Food Pairings||Fresh seafood (oysters, scallops)||Meat (steak, lamb)|
|How To Drink||Neat, on the rocks||In cocktails|
|Similar To||Canadian Club||Woodford Reserve|
Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Quick History: Jim Beam traces its roots back to 1795 when Jacob Beam began crafting corn whiskey. It has a rich history of family-run distilling known for its traditional sour mash bourbon-making technique. 
Nose: Sweet corn, vanilla, butterscotch, caramel, and a bit of spice
Palate: Tastes like sweet corn, vanilla spice, peanut, and caramel, with a hint of black pepper
Finish: Surprisingly warm yet short, with bitter oak and black pepper
Our First Sip: Jim Beam had a distinctly sweet aroma, with notes of vanilla, caramel, and peanut. This wasn’t surprising as these flavors are present in all whiskeys from the Jim Beam Distillery.
However, it lacked the robust flavor found in some other bourbons. Its prominent pepper taste also made it less enjoyable on the rocks.
Final Taste: In a nutshell, Jim Beam is a budget-friendly drink that shines in cocktails but may have the best flavor for sipping straight.
Star Rating: ★★★☆☆
- Jim Beam’s mash bill comprises 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley.
- The Jim Beam Distillery uses a special yeast strain for fermentation dating back to the Prohibition era.
- After being distilled, Jim Beam is aged for at least four years in newly charred American white oak barrels.
- Jim Beam is part of the American tradition and remains a popular choice for whiskey lovers worldwide.
Crown Royal Whisky
Quick History: This renowned Canadian whisky boasts a regal legacy dating back to 1939 when it was created as a special blend for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth during their visit to Canada. 
It’s known for its smooth and rich flavor profile, thanks to the 50 distinct whiskies used for its blend.
Nose: A light sweetness with vanilla, caramel, honey, and a hint of alcohol
Palate: Rye spice, clove, vanilla, caramel, and apple
Finish: Warm yet short, with a mild aftertaste of oak spice and caramel
Our First Sip: Crown Royal is a gentle and easy-to-drink whisky. It’s an excellent choice for those who prefer a smoother drink.
Its finish is on the shorter side and leaves behind oak spice, vanilla, and caramel taste on the palate. Surprisingly, we found that this contributed positively to a pleasant drinking experience.
“Crown Royal: [A taste] fit for royalty, enjoyed by all.” – Sir Winston Churchill
However, it’s not as complex as some other spirits, but it does have a decent spice that makes it ideal for Old Fashioned cocktails.
Final Taste: Crown Royal may not be the most adventurous whisky on the palate, but it’s a reliable drinking option for those who want something smooth and mixable for most cocktail recipes.
It’s versatile and blends well with Coke and ginger ale. The iconic purple velvet pouch accompanying each bottle also adds a touch of class to the experience. You can also check out these Crown Royal flavors.
Star Rating: ★★★★☆
- This whisky is made from a blend of 50 whiskies from 5 different mash bills.
- It’s aged for a minimum of 10 years to ensure a refined flavor and mouthfeel.
- It is produced at the Gimli Distillery in Manitoba, Canada, which boasts an inventory of over 1.5 million barrels.
- Diageo, a global leader in the spirits industry, owns the brand.
Are Jim Beam and Crown Royal the same?
No, Jim Beam and Crown Royal are not the same. They are two distinct brands of whiskey with different origins, flavor profiles, and production methods.
Jim Beam is a bourbon, while Crown Royal is a Canadian whisky.
How does Crown Royal compare to bourbon?
Crown Royal and bourbon are distinct types of whiskey. The key difference lies in their origin, flavor, and production process. Crown Royal is made in Canada and is crafted from a blend of different grains.
Conversely, bourbon whiskey is produced in America and is primarily made from corn. It has more sweetness, while Crown Royal is smoother and lighter.
Is Crown Royal considered top shelf?
Crown Royal is considered a high-quality whisky, but whether or not it’s top shelf depends greatly on personal preference. It doesn’t carry the same price tag as some ultra-premium brands, but it’s known for its refined taste and how well it blends into many cocktails.
In today’s whiskey showdown between Crown Royal and Jim Beam, there’s a clear standout winner: Crown Royal, which more than half of our team vouched for.
Crown Royal wins because it’s an easy and approachable drink, especially for those who prefer something smooth and versatile. It’s also ideal for sipping, mixing into classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned cocktail, or enjoying on the rocks.
While Jim Beam has its enjoyable aspects (we totally dig how it’s super affordable and accessible), Crown Royal’s refined taste, versatility, and mix of flavors make it a more balanced and adaptable drinking experience, even for folks new to Canadian whisky.