crown royal black

Crown royal black


Black Donnelly is the new black


Im a proud Canadian. I smoke, I drink dangerous amounts of cheap beer, I believe bacon comes from the belly AND back and I refuse to wear gloves in the winter. Im tolerant and patient. You can push me and I will offer you a cigarette. Insult me and I might buy you a beer, but if one day you go too far, I have no problem pulling your sweater over the back of your head, to the front of your face and feeding you uppercuts until a guy in a striped shirt pulls me off ya. That’s a Canadian bud. Jesus walks on water and I run on ice.

Heres a funny bit of Canadian history. Its about the black donnellys.

James and Johanna Donnelly packed up their baby boy and emigrated from the impoverished tipperary Ireland and landed in northern Ontario. The township of biddulph was their new home to start a better life.

James and Johanna didn’t have so much as a penny so they squatted on land that was spoken for. James went out leveling the land and built a house and farm. When the rightful owner Patrick farrel asked the donnellys to leave he was shot at from james’ hunting rifle. Whether or not they were warning shots, we will never know. All we do know is that the landowner, Patrick was never shot directly. So, Patrick shared the 100 acre plot with the squatters. Begrudgingly.

One day the towns men were working together to log out a forest, they were drinking heavily which ended up leading to james and Patrick having some strong words, which lead to an argument, which lead to a fistfight, which lead to james impaling patricks left temple with a handspike and puncturing his brain. Knowing james would be charged with murder, he hid in the nearby woods for a whole year and endured one northern Ontario winter without a roof. James turned himself in fear he may have to endure another.

James was charged, but had the conviction lowered greatly and in no time, he was free to live at home and build his own irish brood. They had seven children, each one had harder fists than the last.

The story goes like this: the Donnellys were the towns shit disturbers. They would create drama, steal, and get in fights with the local residents. When a fight occurred, the Donnelly most likely beat up the person offended and then beat up the person who would aid the victim as well. That night, the victims would wake up to see their barns burnt or their cattle mutilated. Nobody could ever prove it was the donnellys, but, come on, you know…

Some of the Donnelly boys were not without their charm; the clubfooted billy was the most intelligent and it was said he could out fiddle his greatest ally, the devil himself. Tom, the youngest Donnelly was the toughest man in town. The local pub set out a deal stating that any man who could knock out tom Donnelly had free drinks – for life. The families only daughter, jenny moved out and married happily and raised nine children of her own.

Good thing she moved out too. The peace society was seen in a local barn, drinking heavily and getting restless, they were setting out to arrest the Donnelly family and convict them for all their heinous crimes.

Sick of all the trouble brewing in biddulph, town constable and distant family member to yours truly named james carrol had set up a posse with the ironic or just plain misunderstood name ‘the peace society’. The peace society was a sort of makeshift neighborhood watch group poorly disguised as a murderous group of vigilantes. The group of roughly 30 plus men had a plan to stop all the arsons, by arresting the black donnellys.

One cold morning on February 4, 1880, the group rode on horseback to the Donnelly homestead. Constable james carrol entered the back of the house around 2 am and found young tom sleeping. while james placed handcuffs on tom, james sr. approached the officer.

‘you have more charges laid against you.’ James carrol told james donnelly sr. and with that there was a signal, a hoot or bang of the floor, that signaled over thirty angry drunk men to enter the house, armed with axes, spades, clubs and pitchforks.

In seconds the house was nearly full of fists and blunt objects flying in bloody melee. Johanna the mother of the black donnellys was reported to have cut off some men’s limbs or appendages with a cleaver before being beaten unconscious, then dead. James Donnelly sr. held his own, taking down a few attackers before having his head split open by dull instruments and being stabbed with pitchforks.

Tom, the youngest one of all the donnellys took out several attackers while shackled and broke free of the melee, he ran out of the house and was seen distancing himself from the antagonists by hurling accurately thrown, spinning, deadly horseshoes. The remaining army of men who were still able to fight ganged up on tom and beat him unconscious with clubs. The men dragged tom back into the house and broke his skull open with four swift hits from a shovel. His brains stained the wood flooring.

Not satisfied the house was clear, some men went upstairs to discover the donnellys niece, bridget, who was visiting from Ireland, unarmed and scared, huddled behind a bed. She was dispatched of without a sound. She was only a little girl whos crime was carrying the Donnelly name. the house was burned and bridgets body fell through the ceiling onto the remaining dead relatives.

How do we know this? Because of one little boy, a neighbor who was to help the black Donnelly family with chores in the morning. That little boy hid under a bed, never to be seen. He later testified in court.

The group of vigilantes that remain(only 6 were left to fight) traveled further down the road to billy donnellys house and called him out in the night. Billy was asleep and his brother, john answered the door instead. He was shot with a shotgun twice and he laid in the doorway, choking on his own blood, flooding into his lungs. Billy pulled his brother inside the house and watched him die and held him in his arms until sunlight.

After the entire debacle, the little boy who hid under the bed testified in court and fingered six men directly and accurately. Not one charge was laid.

One of the brothers not involved in the attack, Patrick Donnelly stated that he would outlive every person responsible for his family’s murders and spit on their grave. At funerals, when of the men responsible for the murders passed, there was a man lurking behind the crowd, and when the casket dropped that man would emerge from the shadows and spit right on the casket, dance a jig and simply be on his way.

So, whats the connection? Sam Bronfman, creator of crown royal emigrated to Canada for a better life, crafted history and a Canadian legacy through a little violence and paved the way for his own ‘black’.

Wait a minute…. That wasn’t funny at all!


Alc. 45%


Typical standard crown royal bottle. The label is black instead of the typical gold and blue.


Egg nog and custard followed by corn and mint. Powerful alcohol on the nose but filled with corn and char. Smoke, brown sugar and rye. New barrel smell along with some nutmeg. The nose is difficult to release at this proof, although pleasantly strong.


Bold and smoky with heavy corn oil and char. Vanilla and toffee with a rye spice finish. Pulsating flavor rich and loud with char, grain and spice. Hickory and mesquite. This is not to be taken lightly.


I like it. This is not an everyday sipper, because of its full frontal assault and heavy spiciness. Very loud. To me, this is like a Canadian version of bourbon, possibly comparable to evan Williams white label. I believe the egg nog nose shows some old whisky in this blend. I find that smell to be common with wisers 18, cc 20 or forty creeks confederation oak.



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