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Glen Breton Ice 17 Year Old

Average score from 2 reviews and 2 ratings 60

Glen Breton Ice 17 Year Old

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Glen Breton Ice 17 Year Old

This second whisky from Glen Breton elicited from me even more excitement than the first. This is a 17 year old cask strength whisky that is finished for 4 months in Ortega Ice Wine barrels from Jost Vineyards, Nova Scotia. I acquired a bottle as a gift, saving me the $46 for a 250ml bottle.

I was quite curious, primarily, about the effects of age on Glen Breton whisky. I was also curious to sample Glen Breton as cask strength, and to see what effect the ice wine barrels had on the whisky. I gave this whisky every opportunity with every combination of time and water. Nonetheless, calamity ensued.

Nose: hot alcohol astringency, but some sweet grape from the ice wine cask manages to peak through.

Palate: hot, with honey, cereal, and floral perfume. A similar profile to the 10 year old, mellowed with age but astringent due to the high ABV (and probably several other reasons)

Finish: hot and long, the most prominent feature being the toasted grain profile.

This whisky requires a very generous dollop of water to tame the hotness and astringency. With water:

Nose: the subtle grape is subdued, but a lingering fruity sweetness is discernible. Bananas, nuts, cereal, mild perfume, similar to Glen Breton 10.

Palate: still quite hot, with a sweet and sour tussle. Cereal.

Finish: long, spicy, and sour. Perfume and toasted oak notes linger with some fruit before the finish gives way to a prolonged spicy sourness.

I am disappointed. The addition of water does little to tame the astringency, instead muting the other flavour profiles. If you like hot and sour soup, this is your whisky.


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.

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.

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.

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