So in our group, I’m at the heart of an odd, but fun situation. Anyone who has either drank with me or have read my mystery reviews knows I am bad at them. Also anyone who knows me knows that I speak with confidence when discussing anything, because I worked in marketing, and literally if you don’t act like you know 100% of everything all the time, no one will listen and you won’t get promoted and will be ignored.
It’s a very helpful, healthy way of working (this is sarcasm).
Due to this happy coincidence, my friends like to find whiskies that I should be able to guess, but are very difficult to guess as mysteries. So the usually confident person is proved wrong, while we all have fun reviewing.
Last tasting (that I’ve written up) was my turn to bring a mystery. And I delivered, with noone (save maybe for the person who didn’t want to guess) being able to figure it out.
Glen Breton Rare 19 Ice Cask Strength Single Malt is the oldest of the Ice Wine cask finished line of cask strength whiskes brought out by Glenora distillery, in Nova Scotia. It’s one of four Ice Wine Cask releases, one of the few cask strength Canadian whiskies before last year to be on the market.
Ice Wine is wine that is harvested at -7 to -8 Celcius, which has a higher sugar count. It’s best paired with desserts, and is similar to noble rot sweet dessert wines. A few wine connoisseurs aren’t the biggest fans of them, due to a lack of complexity and their propensity towards the very sweet notes. Not to mention they are quite pricey.
I personally love them, because I have a sweet tooth.
In an earlier review, I stated the 17 year offering from this line was one of my favourite Canadian whiskies (until last year and some new Canadian whiskies took that prize). Let’s see how two more years affects it, shall we?
Price: $108.70 CAD from the distillery, in a 250 ml bottle.
Cask Finish: Ice Wine for 6 months
Colour: 7.5Y 9/8
Nose: Lemoncello, vanilla ice cream, cooked peaches, cloves, chrysanthemum, honey
Very sweet, citrus forward nose. It’s still strong and isn’t too mellow after 19 years. Many people guessed this was about 10 to 12 years old while nosing it, and I can see why.
That said, there isn’t a lack of complexity here. Lots of floral, stone fruit, and spice here. It’s an Autumn whisky with the sweeter elements being something I love.
Taste: Floral, strawberry jam, asparagus, butter, peach
Simpler taste, with floral being up front. The cask influence is still here, though more grassy and buttery. Think an ex-Sauteurnes cask, but more influence than a finish on one of those.
Enjoy the red fruit aspect. It’s coming out of nowhere. Also the floral element that’s in all Glen Breton isn’t as strong here, so if people usually don’t enjoy the “soap shoved down your throat” aspect of their malt, this is helping.
Finish: Cherry jam, blue cheese, brown sugar, butter, Beef Wellington, peanuts, lily pads floral notes
Amazing finish. Imagine being at the lake, having a chacuterie (meat and cheese, for our American readers) board, and then diving in. And not waiting, because your parents made up that thing about cramps so they could enjoy the lake without kids for 30 minutes.
Lots of flavours, lots of complexity. The finish is a joy.
Conclusion: Frankly an amazing whisky for me. That said, I really enjoy sweets, so I have to watch myself on how much I enjoyed this. Also I have a bias towards younger whiskies, and this acts more like a young, strong whisky than an old one.
That’s not a bad thing. It’s just more powerful, punchy, and the flavours hog the spotlight more than anything else. That’s not to say it’s bad, it’s just the style, and frankly I enjoyed it. It has amazing flavours, great sweetness, and if you like sweet whiskies, it’s perfect.
It also has Lowland notes that I enjoy, and I tip my hat to Glenora for making a great whisky.
World Whisky review #306, Canada review #107, Whisky Network review #1378
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