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Glen Breton Rare 10 Year Old

Average score from 7 reviews and 14 ratings 76

Glen Breton Rare 10 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Glen Breton
  • Bottler: Unknown
  • ABV: 43.0%
  • Age: 10 year old

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@Nozinan
Glen Breton Rare 10 Year Old

Back in 2009 (I think) the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Glenora could continue using the name Glen Breton. Apparently it was a 9 year court battle waged by the SWA, which was concerned that the name would confuse buyers into thinking it was a Scotch.

Just prior to the ruling there was a newspaper article about the upcoming judgement. Ever the astute investor, I, a non-whisky drinker at the time, went out and bought 4 bottles, 2 of the 10 YO rare and 2 of the ice wine cask finish (the first bottles of whisky I think I ever bought). I figured they would be worth something if the name had to be changed. I remember discussing this with the person who ultimately did inspire my whisky journey, and he didn’t think the investment would pan out. He did not think highly of what was inside the packaging (not sure if he had tasted it).

Turns out, the bottles didn’t appreciate in value (oops) and I went on with my life for another ~18 months. Then, in the fall of 2010 I decided to find out what the fuss was all about. I did some online research to see what I was supposed to taste, and I came upon the first posted video review in Ralfy’s series. Without a proper glass, I opened this bottle and tasted it while watching the video.

Ah, the power of suggestion. I see that we also poured this as the first dram of my nascent whisky club in January 2011 (when we also opened the ice wine finish bottle). My notes indicate the consensus that the nose was “bonkers” (as Ralfy had put it). Ralfy gave it an 87. We ranked it A to A+. Ah, the innocence of youth. Let’s see what the more experienced taster has to say (though some of my club-mates were experienced back then).

The bottle was used “sparingly" since being opened in 2010 and probably gassed since some time in 2011. I probably did not open it more than once or twice between 2012 and 2016, when, in July, I poured off a 60 cc bottle of this and gave the rest to @Nelom.

This expression is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting. Afterward I combined the remaining 1 oz of each expression to assess in the future. Still a single malt, mind you…


Nose: 21/25

Sweet. Baked apples. Some baking spices. Mostly high pitch notes (as I understand the term). A hint of honey. Perhaps a little floral. Slightly syrupy. Not too complex. With time and water the syrup comes forward and the nose is richer. (21.5/25)

Taste: 20/25

A little thin on the mouthfeel. Sweet. Slightly spirity. Sour in the development. I get no real “flavours”. Water makes the arrival a little sweeter and more fruity.(20.5/25)

Finish: 20/25

Dry and sour finish. Slightly oaky. Maybe some pepper.

Balance: 18/25

The palate does not deliver on the nose. Water does even it out a bit (20/25)

Score: Neat - 79/100 With Water: 82/100


Combining this glass with the Ice version(water added during the tasting), the palate is a little richer and has a little more character. It would probably rate 82-83. I will let the last two 30 cc remnants marry for an unspecified period of time, and when I have the opportunity to taste it, will update the review in the comments section below.


At the time this was Canada’s only single malt distillery and one of only 2 single malt expressions. I also didn’t know what really awesome whisky could taste like.

Now that I know, I find this extremely ordinary and I would not buy newer batches without tasting first. How did Antonio Salieri refer to himself in Amadeus? “The epitome of mediocrity”. That’s it right there.

Taste: Bitter, some fruits, pepper in development - 20/25

Finish: Pepper, medium long - 20/25

Balance: Nose is too faint, not mush to say for itself - 20

Combined Score - 78/100

Interesting, I scored it worse than each individual malt.

Lesson learned... no more GB for me.

@Nozinan I am glad I let the vibe fall down by itself. Very nice review.

@JasonHambrey

This whisky is made at the Glenora distillery in Nova Scotia, in eastern Canada. It was the first Canadian single malt, but since then more malt whiskies have been produced and bottled by craft distillers.

Nose: Very light, floral (daisies mainly, along with other flowers), fruity, and clean. Fresh green apples, peaches, lots of honey, nectar, and some maltiness that is almost reminiscent of hay. It's a touch oily, which is by no means a bad thing - the oiliness reminds me somewhat of corn oil, 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 - it's fantastic. 90%

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. 87%

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. 88%

Intrigue: it's quite good, and at first I didn't like the flavour profile at all when I first tried it. However, after some time with it I do appreciate it a fait bit. However, I do wish for a bit more depth in some of the elements, and a bit less in some, particularly the oiliness. However, I imagine, with a few more years the flavour would round out brilliantly. They have a few older versions that I haven't tried, including a 17 year old finished in icewine casks - that would be interesting. 85%

Weighting the nose 25%, taste 35%, Finish 15%, and Intrigue 25% the overall grade is 87.

*I realized I would never have time to upload all my Canadian whisky reviews to connosr properly, so I've been importing the tasting notes in bulk to expand the whisky base on connosr. For more info on the whisky (with simiklar tasting notes), see my post at whiskywon.wordpress.com/2014/04/…

Yes, not many - this is the one that is most widely available. The distillery is located in Cape Breton, a place full of people of Scottish descent where Gaelic is quite freely spoken. Nova Scotia itself means "New Scotland" - it's not surprising there are single malts coming from there.

The stills themselves were imported from Speyside, and Bowmore was quite involved in the consulting of the building and setup of the distillery in the early nineties.

This was the second single malt I remember trying, probably the fourth I'd ever tasted (the first two were long before).

I think for its quality it is a very expensive malt. There are others (Bladnoch when it was available, Laphroaig, Glenfarclas 12) that I would probably choose over this one. It's not offensive by any means, but it has no distinctivenes that would have me coming back.

@MaltActivist

We've all had Canadian Club growing up, I presume, slumming it in a bar some where. It's not a bad drink with Coke but then what is? Anyway, it's not Canadian Club I want to talk but it's cousin Glen Breton and it's 10 year old single malt.

Had this at a recent tasting of my single malt society and it was unveiled amid much curiosity. However, intrigue did not give way to wonderment as this one failed to excite on all levels.

The nose is weakly floral, with a hint of woody cashew nuts soaking in a broth of milk balls. There are some fruits - maybe some apples and pears - but I really couldn't tell so weak is the nose.

The palate is not bad. It's not amazing but it's ok. It's quite sweet with a lemony tartness to it with some heather. But it's generally quite flat and one dimensional.

The finish is moderate with a spicy clove and stale coconut oil residue. Not the most pleasant, I must say.

I guess I'm disappointed because I wanted this to shine but it didn't. It's not entirely bad, mind you, but it does not blow you away.

I too had high expectations. I originally bought mien as an "investment" - if the SWA lawsuit forced them to change the name the bottle would become valuable in 10-20 years.

But Glen Breton kept its name so I decided to open and try it. It was OK, but not mind blowing. I think increasing the ABV and adding some ex-sherry casks would help.

Interestingly, I tried the ice wine cask finished version a couple of years after I had opened it (preserved with gas)and it was better than when I first tried it. But at 40% it was weak.

I have a bottle of Stalk and Barrel, Toronto's first single malt, cask #1 at cask strength. If I can ever convince @Victor to come visit I plan to crack it, and any connosr members in the area are welcome to join us.

c

A sweet, honeyed nose with some fruit, maybe apple/banana/peach. Alcohol is very much present. Not much development over 15 minutes.

On the tongue there is much more wood than the nose would have indicated. I am getting a lot of oak. There is some underlying sweetness. Ultimately better than the nose would suggest.

Not much burn, a bit of lingering warmth in the throat. Goes down pretty smooth.

Pretty nice drink, but the nose is not as interesting as it might be. Also, while I don't rate based on price, I would agree that this is overpriced.

I bought it when I thought it would be a collector's item if the SWA won their lawsuit. Oh we'll. I was also disappointed. Even Ralfy liked it better than I did. Mind you, I had only tasted 2-3 single malts and no blends at that time n my life, but I've come back to it since, with no further luck.

I won't have any hesitation finishing the bottle but I also won't be replacing it. Nice packaging too, for what that's worth :).

@TheConscience

My inaugural review, so bear with me.

I am not typically a flag-waiving patriot, nor am I otherwise a fan of Canadian whisky, but something excited me about the prospect of a home grown single malt. Perhaps it was my predilection for the underdogs, or my curiosity about how the whisky compared to the Scottish single malts to which I am accustomed.

Nevertheless, I was of two minds about this whisky before ever having tasted a drop. On the one hand, it has won several awards (a testament to its intrinsic quality?). On the other hand, it has not always been highly regarded among whisky drinkers on this site and others (a testament to the lack of quality?). Moreover, it is expensive. At $87 Canadian for a 10 year old, it is near the upper end of the market for that age range. To compare, Talisker 10 is $75, Laphroaig 10 is $80, and Ardbeg 10 sells for $100 (at the LCBO). There are likely reasons for the high price, beyond simply the desire to gouge consumers, but it is certainly a factor. I only acquired a bottle because it was on sale at the LCBO for the store-crashing price of $82.

After two months and a number of sessions, the results are in:

Nose: banana-nut to the fore, then a bizarre agglomeration of toast, honey, floral/perfume, dull soap and some grassiness.

Palate: oily and mouth coating. Mildly sour, balanced by toasted cereals, honey-flower, green apple, and some mild ginger. It is astringent at first, but this mellows with the addition of water.

Finish: sharp and long, with initial cereal notes transitioning to sourness and spice.

Overall, it's not bad. But not great either, especially for the price. Some age, quality casks, and distillation wizardry will go a long way to improve the overall quality. Otherwise, it remains a mediocre day for Canadians.

...on the bright side, this bottle has now been reduced to a slightly more reasonable $77 at the LCBO (from $92 back in early 2011). Better cask selection would likely be the one improvement with the greatest impact for this bottle.

Your tasting notes sound bang-on to me. If you weren't crazy about this, I recommend you steer well clear of the 17 year old icewine version.

@Pudge72

My wife and I had the pleasure of visiting the distillery, located in the Cape Breton Highlands of Nova Scotia, this past August. My friend was kind enough to give me a bottle of this for Christmas.

From a value perspective, it loses out as it promotes (takes advantage of?) the fact that it is the sole single malt whisky produced in Canada. Can$90 (in Ontario) for a 750 ml bottle seems quite steep for a 10 y.o. from a young distillery (as a comparison, Laphroaig Quarter Cask runs Can$65...though I realize that their price point can likely be lower due to higher volume production and lower capital costs for a long-established distillery).

Nose: Honey and, especially the longer it sits, vanilla are the dominant aromas. Underlying notes of a light cereal similar to Corn Flakes, peach are present before adding a small amount (less than a teaspoon) of filtered water. The dilution brings out a slightly sweet aroma that might be comparable to bubble gum (others that may have noticed this note may be able to put a better descriptor to it). 20/25

Palate: Citrus and dry grass. Unfortunately, the rather pleasant nose gives way to a palate that gets knocked down by the astrigency of the alcohol. 17/25

Body/Balance: Thin, overall harsh (I'm still developing this area in my tasting experiences). 16/25

Finish: Short, increasing in length with multiple sips. Vanilla, with hints of peach and faint bubblegum. The duration of the finish, combined with the still strong presence of the alcohol cause the peach and bubblegum to only be found with some effort. 18/25

My impression of this dram is that (at least based on reviews of higher rated scotch, and of my very limited experience in tasting SMSW's) the presence of the alcohol is excessive. That is why I am hopeful that an older bottling (12 or 15 years?) down the road from this distillery will be more mellow, allowing the subtle flavours to become more present and more consistent throughout the tasting process. The characteristics of this single malt whisky would appear to be comparable to Lowland or Speyside malts.

As this is my first formal review (of my first full size bottle of whisky in my cabinet) I would appreciate any constructive criticism (or compliments) that any member of this site may have.

Just some additional commentary, now that the bottle is now 2/3 empty and has been open for almost nine months:

While the nose has improved slightly, the palate is dying an increasingly painful death under the very astringent notes (bad wood selection for the casks?...maybe someone with more knowledge of wood selection in general could give feedback.) Very strange tradeoff between nose and palate, and not a welcome one. The pleasant notes of the profile seem to be very nicely promoted (and the astrigency on the palate has been significantly cancelled out) when a dram is poured into an unrinsed glass that previously contained a dram with sherry and/or fruit notes. So far the GBR 10 has been greatly improved in a glass that previously held Jefferson's Presidential Select 18 yo (very nice cherry/toffee notes), and one that held Strathisla 12.

I will likely finish the GBR 10 in this manner, trying it after having other bottles with a fruit profile (Black Bush and Te Bheag, especially) that are in my collection.

I am rooting for this distillery (since it is one of 'the little guys' and is Canadian), however I am very nervous about taking the plunge on the 15 yo 'Battle of the Glen' bottle (@ $150 in Nova Scotia only, at this point) until I can sample it and/or get extensive feedback on it first).

Did you ever try the Battle of the Glen? I have never had it, but I heard that bottling was better. I have some similar views about Glen Breton - but a word on price - it is expensive, I agree. But, with the size of Glen Breton and the way it operates I imagine it is more expensive to produce per bottle than a much bigger producer. I look at all the craft bottlings out nowadays and find they usually are costing a fair bit more

All that said, I also don't think the quality of this bottle is up to 90$

F

Nice Scotch, a bit overpriced for what it offered.

Well it is a whisky in the Scotch style.. (Canadian Rye Whisky also forgoes the "e") .. like Nikka, Suntory, Penderyn, Amrut or even Clear Creek. For most people Scotch is also a term of art reffering to the style .. despite what the lawyers want us to believe..

Hmm... too bad you can't edit these after posting. It's been ages (maybe 2 years) since I last had this Scotch, so I'd like to be able try it again and flesh out the review a bit.

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