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Glen Breton Ice 17 Year Old

An expensive letdown

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@MegawattReview by @Megawatt

22nd Jan 2012


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Glen Breton Ice 17 is unusual in many respects: it is a cask-strength Canadian whisky finished in icewine barrels, so you can expect it to have little in common with any other Canadian whiskies. Glen Breton whisky hasn't exactly received glowing reviews from many critics, so let's see how this little 250ml offering fares.

The whisky is very pale for a 17 year old. Nosed from the bottle, it shows some fruity sweetness, but at full strength in the glass it is restrained, with some toasty aromas, almost like toasted bread. Water is a must. With water, the toast aromas persist but are joined by some mild grape, vanilla, and a bit of chocolate. Not exactly the most expressive nose I've come across.

The whisky is medium-bodied. The arrival is strange, buttery at first with some fruity notes becoming sour and bitter on the tongue. Something doesn't sit right here. There is not much of a malt presence, and the icewine casks fail to sparkle. The sour taste becomes the predominant feature.

I had sort of enjoyed previous tastings but now that I'm dissecting it a bit, I've come to realize that this is really quite a terrible whisky. Aside from some grape on the nose and the initial buttery texture it offers very little in the way of charm and the whole thing falls apart after a few seconds in the mouth. Even setting aside the high price, I was expecting a whole lot more from this.

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michaelschout commented

I came really close to buying a bottle of this a couple times and now I'm glad I didn't. It was a good try by Glenora distillery though I suppose. Like you said too, way too overpriced.

8 years ago 0

talexander commented

I have been very interested in trying a Glen Breton, but this particular one never caught my attention - and ice wine finishing of a single malt just doesn't sound right to me...

8 years ago 0

Megawatt commented

I have no objection to the wine finish in particular. I think in this case it's just not enough to save a poor-quality malt. Glen Breton 10 is not bad, but not great either, and for the price I certainly wouldn't recommend it.

8 years ago 0

fishnix commented

I'll preface this by saying that we've stayed at the Glenora Inn 3 times and really have enjoyed our time there in the distillery, the inn, the bar and the restaurant. It's possible my opinion is slightly tainted because of that but I'm trying to be as objective as possible. Other than that, I don't have any connection to the distillery.

I tend to think the younger Glen Breton whiskys have a bit of a soapy flavor and I don't enjoy them much. The older expressions I do find to be quite pleasant (albeit pricey). I detect very little toast in this malt but I do catch the fruitiness on the nose. I strongly prefer this (and all Glen Breton malts) without water.

I agree that the whisky has a noticeably buttery delivery (but less than the non-ice wine varieties for some reason) with fruit and vanilla undertones. I don't get the same sourness or bitterness at all, it does express slightly flat on the tongue after about 10 seconds, but not in a negative way. There is a decent amount of heat on this cask strength whisky, and this doesn't seem to mellow much with age for these malts. The soapiness that I don't like does mellow significantly with age and by 17yrs, it's basically gone.

I agree that this is a pricey bottle, but it's also quite rare.

7 years ago 0

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