Review: Glen Breton Rare 10yo

Glen Breton Rare 10 Year Old

Canadian whisky anyone? The large red maple leaf adorning the box is a bit of a dead giveaway – it also says “Canada’s Only Single Malt Whisky” on the label. Produced by Glenora Distillers (International) Ltd, it  opened in 1990 in the village of Glenville at Cape Breton in Nova Scotia.

Since 2001 there has been a bit of legal wrangling over the use of the word “Glen”, the Scotch Whisky Association claiming that the term was potentially misleading to international consumers – the word appears almost exclusively on Scotch whisky labels. I should also point out that the word “Scotch” is trademarked and can only be used to describe whiskies produced in Scotland. Last year the company lost an appeal against a ruling preventing the use of the word “glen” as the SWA had filed evidence of more than 30 instances where Glen Breton had been incorrectly described in Canada as “Scotch Whisky.”

I’m sure there will be plenty of mixed opinions on the subject. So, forgetting about what the label says, what about what’s in the bottle?
The nose was fascinating. The first thing I got was Thai lime and coconut followed by spearmint and wet moss after heavy rain. After a few minutes there was fresh orange juice, orange blossom, hot sawdust and tree sap, all wrapped up in crème brulee. With a touch of water sticky ginger cake leapt out of the glass with a little rose water floating around the edge, which was then followed up by tree bark.
The nose was a good indication of how the palate would follow with zesty lemon rind, oriental spices, ginger and cinnamon, again with crème brulee, but then there was a solvent kick that made me imagine what shoe polish would taste like.
The finish was short with toasty almonds.

At first this was a really good dram (oh wait, can I say “dram” if I’m not describing Scotch whisky? Oh well, too late!). The nose and the palate complimented each other well, and there was an initial balance which made it quite enjoyable. Unfortunately the character if the whisky changed, became a bit erratic with that shoe polishness, and even before this it seemed a bit flat, deteriorating into something flabby and bland. Despite this, it’s actually not bad, but don’t waste time thinking about it too much – if it’s in the glass, “get it doon ye” before it’s too late.