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Crown Royal vs Hennessy

Rebecca Hanlon
Last Updated: July 31st, 2023

In an alternate reality where countries sent liquor to the Olympics instead of athletes, what would each country send? The exercise could be harder than it seems. Many countries have countless spectacular options.

The United States would need to choose between iconic brands like Jack Daniel’s, Blanton’s, Maker’s Mark, and Four Roses. Scotland would require a choice between Macallan, Lagavulin, and Chivas Regal.

It wouldn’t be any easier for Canada or France but they each have a brand that stands tall above the rest. For Canada, it’s Crown Royal Canadian Whisky and for France, it’s Hennessy Cognac.

Crown Royal or Hennessy

If these spirits made it to this hypothetical liquor Olympics how would the Crown Royal vs Hennessy matchup go? What event or category would the Hennessy vs Crown Royal battle take place in?

Since they are different kinds of spirits and two of the most popular brands around we’ll have them go head to head in the “best liquor in the world” event.

hennessy cognac bottle with ice

Hennessy is a fine Cognac from Cognac, France that was founded in 1765. Hennessy isn’t just a fine Cognac but it’s also a fine Brandy. That’s because Cognac is a style of Brandy from the Cognac region of France.

So what exactly is Cognac or Brandy for that matter? It’s a fermented and distilled liquor made from grapes and aged in oak barrels.

Hennessy has a subtly sweet and oaky taste. Hennessy is often sipped on in a snifter but it also works well in a range of cocktails.

crown royal whiskey bottle with glass

Crown Royal is a blended Whisky from Canada. Crown Royal was created in 1939 as a celebratory gift to Queen Elizabeth and King George VI when they made a visit to Canada.

For decades Crown Royal was only available in Canada but then crossed the border in the 1960s. Since then Crown Royal Canadian Whisky has been one of the more popular brands around the globe.

Crown Royal is also a fermented and distilled beverage aged in barrels. Crown Royal is also a blended Whisky that is made with smoothness as the goal. Crown Royal succeeds as it is a smooth spirit that has a boozy oaky flavor.

This smoothness lends itself to drinking on the rocks or mixing in a cocktail.

Crown Royal Vs Hennessy – How Are They Made?

how are they made crown royal and hennessy

Crown Royal is made like many other Whiskies or spirits right up until the end. The end is when Crown Royal is blended and possibly flavored.

The beginning of the process all starts with grains. The grains are mixed with water and yeast. The grain mixture is heated to start the process of yeast eating the grains to create alcohol. This process is otherwise known as fermentation.

After fermentation, the alcohol is distilled and added to oak barrels. The Whisky sits in the barrels for at least three years until the blending starts.

The Crown Royal master blender extracts Whisky from various barrels to create the ultimate smooth Whisky known as Crown Royal. Some variations of Crown Royal are aged longer or have flavors added post distillation.

Hennessy’s production is not incredibly different from that of Crown Royal but there are quite a few noticeable differences.

For one, Hennessy is made by first making wine. At first, this sounds wild until you recall that wine is made by fermenting grapes. Essentially, Hennessy ferments grapes and Crown Royal ferments grains.

From there Hennessy is distilled twice. The result of these two distillations is a clear liquid called eau de vie (water of life). The eau de vie is matured (aged) for multiple years in wooden barrels.

While resting the spirit is rotated in barrels before being blended and bottled.

Crown Royal Vs Hennessy – What Are They Made Of?

what are they made of

Hennessy is made by fermenting grapes, specifically Ugni Blanc grapes. Ugni Blanc is the grape of choice due to its perfect level of acidity and dryness.

What’s funny is that the Ugni Blanc wine is actually quite bad. However, it has all the elements needed to churn out high-quality Cognac.

Crown Royal is all about Canada. The grains to make Crown Royal are corn, barley, and rye grains all from Canada. Crown Royal also has some flavored variants that use flavors like caramel, vanilla, peach, and apple.

How Are They Similar?

Crown Royal and Hennessy have a lot of similarities even though they are completely different types of liquor. They are both fermented and high-proof distilled alcohols even though they are made with unrelated ingredients.

They are both aged in wood barrels and the final product of each is blended alcohol. Lastly, Crown Royal and Hennessy are versatile. They taste great whether on their own or part of a cocktail.

Price, Size, Color, Alcohol Percentage Comparison

hennessy cognac france

Hennessy Cognac is a premium spirit and it commands a premium price. Hennessy VS Cognac is the most common and lowest price offering at $45.99 for a 750 ml bottle.

From there, there are moderately more expensive bottles all the way up to bottles priced in the thousands of dollars. The price goes up as the rarity and age go up.

Hennessy has the expected range of sizes from 50 ml single-serve bottles up to 1.75 L bottles. The color will vary a bit but generally, they are all amber.

Hennessy is a high-proof spirit at 80 Proof (40% alcohol by volume) with few exceptions – namely 86 Proof Hennessy Black.

Hennessy VS (Very Special) Cognac

  • 750 ml, From $45.99

Hennessy VSOP Privilège Cognac

  • 750 ml, From $59.99

Hennessy Black Cognac

  • 750 ml, From $46.99

Hennessy XO (Extra Old) Cognac

  • 750 ml, From $219.99

Hennesy Paradis Cognac

  • 750 ml, From $1199.99

crown royal from hawaii usa

Crown Royal has a large portfolio with some low-priced bottles and some expensive bottles as the collection becomes older and rarer.

Just like Hennessy, Crown Royal comes in standard bottle sizes with 375 ml, 750 ml, and 1.75 L being the most common. The color of the liquor ranges from golden to amber.

The original Crown Royal Blended Canadian Whisky is 80 Proof, the flavored varieties are 70 Proof, and a few variants go up to 90 Proof.

The Crown Royal product line is broken up into the Signature Series, Flavor Series, and Master Series.

Signature Series

  • Crown Royal Deluxe Blended Canadian Whisky
    • 750 ml, From $24.99
  • Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye – 90 Proof
    • 750 ml, From $32.99
  • Crown Royal Black – 90 Proof
    • 750 ml, From $29.99
  • Crown Royal Blender’s Mash
    • 750 ml, From $31.99

Flavour Series – Apple, Peach, Vanilla, and Salted Caramel

  • 750 ml, From $24.99

Master Series – Top Shelf Collection

  • Crown Royal Aged 18 Years Extra Rare Blended Canadian Whisky
    • 750 ml, From $149.99
  • Crown Royal XR Extra Rare Blended Canadian Whisky
    • 750 ml, From $144.99
  • Royal Crown Reserve Canadian Whisky
    • 750 ml, From $47.99

How to Drink?

As previously mentioned, both of these favored spirits are multifaceted. They taste smooth and luxurious on their own and enhance any mixed drink they’re a part of.

Here are some fantastic cocktail recipes for Crown Royal and Hennessy:

French 75 Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Hennessy VS or VSOP Cognac
  • 0.5 oz Simple Syrup
  • 0.75 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Sparkling Wine or Champagne
  • 1 Lemon Twist (for Garnish)

Combine Hennessy, simple syrup, and lemon juice in a Champagne flute. Top with Champagne, garnish with a lemon twist, and serve.

Crown Royal Flush

  • 1.25 oz Crown Royal
  • 0.25 oz Peach Schnapps
  • 3 oz Cranberry Juice
  • Orange Peel (for Garnish)

Add the liquid ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake, strain into an ice-filled rocks glass, and garnish with an orange peel.


Alternatives for crown royal and hennessy

If Crown Royal isn’t available there are a bunch of other blended Canadian Whiskies out there. Black Velvet, Seagram’s VO Canadian Whisky, and Signal Hill Canadian are a few.

If you’re looking for a Hennessy substitute you’ll want to find a high-quality Cognac or Brandy. The best options that come to mind are Courvoisier Cognac VS or Remy Martin VSOP Cognac.


Which came first?

Hennessy came first. Hennessy is much older than Crown Royal. Hennessy dates back to 1765 and Crown Royal is still a relative youngster having launched in 1939.

Which is more popular?

Both Crown Royal and Hennessy are extremely popular. They are both always in the conversation of top liquor brands worldwide.

Which is stronger?

Hennessy and Crown Royal are both high-proof spirits. The most popular versions of each brand are 80 Proof. The only times any of them dip below 80 Proof is the flavored varieties of Crown Royal which are 70 Proof.

About The Author

Rebecca Hanlon

Rebecca has been a blogger for over 5 years, before that enjoying a number of jobs to fund her passion for travel. She's taught English as a foreign language, a part-time Barista, a waitress, and a tour guide.

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