Review: Glen Breton 17 Year Old Ice Single Malt Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

17 Years; Finished in Ice Wine Barrels
100% Single Malt
Distiller Glenora (Cape Breton, Nova Scotia)

Here is something truly rare in the whisky world, for two reasons - first, a cask strength Canadian whisky aged 17 years, and second, probably the only whisky in the world finished with ice wine barrels. The barrels are from Jost vineyard and the finishing length is 4 months. For those of you who haven’t had ice wine – it’s similar, broadly, to a sweet white dessert wine like Sauternes.

Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2016

Ice wine is a nice touch for Glenora. That classic hay and apples comes off the nose, but with much more depth than the 10 year old – more earthiness, and incredible sweet fruit, white grape, and vanilla. Floral notes on the lighter side of things – like honeysuckle. A very light, sweet, grainy malty character. Apple sauce (loads of it), and cinnamon too. Pound cake. A brilliant nose. A touch of walnut oil. Some water really opens up the nose. Really, a terrific nose. A touch confectionary.

The palate is big – fresh peach, apricot, and lots of malty character along with a bit of a mineral white grape character to it (i.e. like a white wine with a mineral limestone character). The malt is quite rich within. Dries with spices, but carries on with lots of stewed apricot and figs. A big malty finish with a good bit of bright sweet grape overtop and a bit of cinnamon underneath. The wine comes out, perhaps a touch too much for my liking – but barely. The touch is great, and it works very well with the malt. Pleasantly oily. It is big at cask strength – I prefer this diluted down to about 45%, and the complexity comes out and isn’t just lost in the heat, though the finish is a bit dulled. Oak still comes through quite nicely on the finish. Terrific stuff!

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low. $211/750 mls.