As part of the Toronto Whisky Society end of year celebration, we ended up with a few whiskies to share. 2017 was a great year for us.
Thus I don’t actually remember who brought this or the last or next review, but thank you! And feel free to add a username for me to thank below!
Currently we’re seeing a growth in Canadian whisky, with quality improving. However it wasn’t always this way.
You see, Canadian whisky became popular due to it’s “smooth elements”. In other words, since people in the world were bouncing back from two world wars, living through a period of food being “prepared”, and generally not getting the chances we now get due to limited travel arrangements that didn’t include “to fight the Germans”, people wanted simpler whiskies.
However now with us Millenials not being xenophobic (or rather as not as xenophobic), loving different foods, and actually having a chance to visit the world and try things out, the smooth, simple whisky of yesteryear needs to adapt.
One company that’s in between both is Glenora. First off, they make single malt whiskies, rather than using the Canadian method of different single grain whiskies. They started well before the recent whisky change ups, and thus are ahead of the game.
Most people have had Glen Breton 10. However if you visit the distillery, you’ll see multiple single barrels, as well as special editions. Some of these make it outside of the distillery now and again.
Thus when someone put Glen Breton Rare 10 Ice Cask Strength Single Malt down on the counter, my ears perked right up. I had previously enjoyed the 17 year, and felt the 12 year needed the extra alcohol. Each of these are the standard Glen Breton, which is finished for 4 months in ice wine casks.
Why only 4 months? Because any more is too much. Ice Wine can be quite strong.
So what do I think about the 10 year? Let’s see, shall we?
Price: $34.78 CAD at the distillery
Cask Finish: Ortega ice wine finish for 4 months
Colour: 10Y 9/8
Nose: Intranasal Smarties (Canadian ones) flavour, floral, brown sugar, grassy/heather
So the nose smells like the flavour I get when I eat Smarties. They are like knockoff M&Ms with way, way larger candy coating.
After that flavour is gone, it’s more floral and has quite a bit of brown sugar. Some of the grassiness I recognize from the original malt is still there, and less abrasive.
Taste: Caramel, cocoa, pineapple, floral
Taste is simple, however each flavour is quite prominent. Nothing is hiding here. It has strong caramel and earthy cocoa notes. The ice wine is evident with the pineapple notes.
And gone are the stronger, soapy flavours of the standard. More floral here. It works as a secondary flavour with the finish.
Finish: Floral, chocolate, peanut, clove, orange
More floral on the finish, which detracts a tad. It feels like an add on to the other flavours. I’d almost like to see what happens when this is given some more time.
Oh, wait, I’ve done that.
Conclusion: So it’s interesting to see what happens when the standard 10 year is both cask strength and is given some time with ice wine. I think it mellows out a lot of the initial problems that some have with the original malt.
This is a firecracker. And I think it benefits from the care that went into it. I agree any more would erase any “whisky” elements from the dram. I hope that innovation like this continues, and we start seeing Glenora trying new and different things like this moving forward.
World Whisky review #292, Canada review #106, Whisky Network review #1281