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