Glen Breton Rare Single Malt Whiskey, 10 years old, short rectangular bottle, hard cardboard box with satin lining, 750ml, 86 proof, about $70-80US, available across Canada and select US markets. This is the 6th release with the first being in 2000.
The Glenora Distillery that produces Glen Breton Rare Canadian Single Malt is as close to Scotch as you can get without producing in Scotland itself. First, it's made in Nova Scotia or New Scotland for those who didn't know. Nova Scotia is populated by and large by Scottish descendants and it looks like Scotland too. It uses a single malted grain like scotch and stills that would be at home in almost any distillery in Scotland. Even the name is reminiscent of Scotland and that has been a bone of contention with the SWA (Scotch Whiskey Association) who claim that the name will confuse customers into thinking it is scotch. More on that in a moment.
The Glenora distillery had bottled a single malt under the name Kenloch (no age statement) while waiting for their stocks to age. This whisky is actually 5-year-old Bowmore. An association with Bowmore goes back to 1986 when the founder of Glenora, Bruce Jardine, had help in the design of the distillery from Harry Cockburn of Morrison Bowmore. Kenloch was discontinued in late 1999.
The SWA just lost a major battle (Jan 24, 2007) in the Canadian Trade Mark Board ruling. As reported by "The Scotsman": At issue is the Glen Breton Rare brand name used by Glenora Distillers International Ltd., which operates in the Cape Breton community of Glenville. The Scotch Whisky Association, which promotes and protects the use of the term scotch whisky around the world, claims the use of the word Glen leads consumers to believe the whisky was distilled and matured in Scotland. But the Trade-Marks Opposition Board in Ottawa, which held hearings in December, rejected that argument in a decision released earlier this month (Jan 24). While a number of scotch whisky makers use Glen as a brand prefix, the board concluded there is no evidence to suggest Canadian consumers primarily associate the word with whisky produced in Scotland. The SWA says they will appeal.
As of 6/13/09 the SWA lost their appeal to the Canadian Supreme Court.
Glen Breton is a medium amber color (or colour for our friends north of the border ) in the bottle and lighter in the glass. The nose is big and very flowery with a touch of malt. Tasting really brings out the floral notes with some ginger and something that reminds me of ultra diluted Ivory soap, part flavor and part astringent. I know that sounds bad but it really isn't, just different and if I can ever come up with a better descriptor I'll edit it in. There are also some oak and honey flavors underneath which are most noticeable at the very first. The finish is on the short side with just a little bit of honey vanilla and peat hanging around before the astringent quality takes over.
Glen Breton was voted on of the Top 50 Spirits Worldwide by the Wine Enthusiast Magazine last year (2006) but I can't rate it that highly. It is an interesting drink that shows potential and I think another two years of age will help overall. It certainly strikes me as a before dinner drink and being fairly light should go well with a Cameroon wrapped cigar. My biggest complaint would have to be the price, $80 is a bit high when compared to established brands but pretty close to what other relatively new distilleries are asking.
Thanks again Bill, I wouldn't have gotten one on my own for quite some time and now I can look forward to trying a new version in a few years.
Edited by AVB, 16 June 2009 - 09:21 AM.