Review: Glen Breton Rare Aged 10 Years Single Malt Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

10 yrs; ex-bourbon casks
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Glenora (Glen Breton, Nova Scotia)

This whisky is made at the Glenora distillery in Nova Scotia (i.e., “New Scotland”), in Eastern Canada. It was the first Canadian single malt (and, indeed, the first North American single malt), but since then more malt whiskies have been produced and bottled by craft distillers. It is from a pretty small distillery (producing about 50,000 litres annually) on the island of Cape Breton, in Nova Scotia, which sits alongside an inn in a beautiful setting. The distillery is perhaps most well known for the lawsuit set against them by the Scotch Whisky Association, trying to get the word “Glen” removed as it sounds particularly scottish. And indeed it does, especially in an area made up of old Scottish immigrants where Gaelic is still freely spoken and taught in schools! Glenora won, and the whisky retains the name “Glen Breton”. This 10 year old version has been around since 2005, and is aged in ex-Jack Daniels casks.

I like the box, and the bottle is well presented. The ode to Glen Breton in the inside cover I especially like:

“So the word is not out for all to see

A single malt from this side of the sea

A lowland taste, or a highland smile

or the tang of the sea, like a malt from the Isle.


These secrets reside in the walls of the cask

And those bouquets and flavours are with us at last

Ten years in a complex of oak and of smoke

Now we reach for the glass, for the cask has awoke.


And we’ll toast with Glen Breton with more than a dram

For the dream of Glenora has captured our land

From the shores of Cape Breton to our montainous west

Our friends now toast with their very own best”

Review (2012)

  • Batch: Nov 27, 2012

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2013

Nose: Very light & floral - daisies mainly. Fresh green apples, peaches, lots of honey, nectar, and some maltiness that is almost reminiscent of hay. The maturation warehouse itself at Glenora is situated in an apple orchard – some wonder if some of the flavour of apples come into the cask as it breathes. It’s a touch oily, which is not necessarily a bad thing – the oiliness reminds me somewhat of corn oil or cornbread, though, of course, there’s no corn in here. It’s creamy, with a little bit of vanilla coming through. Some pine comes through as well, which wonderfully complements the rest of the nose. There’s also a very light and slightly earthy edge sitting in the corner of this nose – fantastic.

Taste: Light and clean still, with some pear and that hay-like malty character. It warms on the finish before the malt leads the way into the finish. It is surprisingly grainy, despite so much fruit on the nose. There is still a white-wine like feel to this whisky, with the fruitiness and grassiness – perhaps a light sauvignon blanc. It has a nice balance of light acidity which gives a nice bite. It’s still quite oily, with good body – you can almost chew it. I do desire just a touch more sweetness, I think.

Finish: Malt, once again with a hay-like character, and a feel of spice – but nothing specific emerges. Over time, some oak remains in the mouth. I find even a touch of minerals, similar to the aftertaste caused by calcium in hard water. There are still touches of floral notes as well – daisies. It has nice weight, and does entertain the mouth for some time. There are also some interesting vegetal notes of celery and starfruit that emerge after some time.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average (based on $80)