Cape Breton Home of our Hearts
Those of you who, like me, think single malt whisky from Scotland is one of the best premium spirit categories, probably also understand that just because the most famous versions come from Scotland doesn’t mean other countries can’t make high quality single malt whisky. Japan is serious about it, as is Ireland an so is Glenora Distillery in Cape Breton.
Photo:Courtesy of Glenora
The tasters who participated in the 2011 International Review of Spirits, held by the Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago, certainly agree, as they scored two Glenora Whiskies at 95 and 93 points out of 100, respectively. That’s damn close to perfect.
Glenora, who make their single malt whiskies in the town of Glenville, on the gorgeous west coast in Inverness County, recently won a nine-year battle with the Scots (the Scottish Whisky Association, actually) over the right to use the word Glen in trademarks, so this is just another in a series of good news items. Their regular release, the rare 10-year-old single malt Canadian whisky, available at the ANBL for $75.99, was scored 95, and described as “exceptional,” while their Battle of the Glen 15-year-old single malt Canadian whisky, bottled in honour of the 1999 trademark win, was scored 93, and also pronounced as “exceptional.” That’s impressive.
To put this in perspective, you can visit the www.tastings.com website and see scores on various single malt scotch whiskies. The four highest scoring Scottish single malts currently on the site, all scoring 95, were Springbank 15-year-old, Glenlivet XXV, Dalmore Astrum 40-year-old and Isle of Jura 21-year-old. These range in price (American prices) from $115-$3,000. This makes the Glenora 10-year-old seem quite a value at $75 Canadian. Note that the Glenora products are not yet on their site, being very recent results.
Regardless of what you think of scoring spirits, wines, or anything, these results show that we should be proud of our whisky and think of it on the same level as our favourite scotch, even if it is not trying to be scotch – it is a delicious beverage in its own right.
The rare 10-year-old was also listed in whisky expert Ian Buxton’s book: 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die. Adding to these results was the recent results of the 2011 World Whiskies Awards associated with Whisky Magazine, where Battle of the Glen was in the shortlist for Best of the Rest of the World Single Malt and was the top in the 13- to 20-year-old category. This category refers to single malts not from Scotland or Japan. Interestingly, the top overall single malt and blended malt in the world at this competition were both from Japan. It sounds like the Scots should worry about the Japanese rather than picking on a distillery in Nova Scotia.
I visited the distillery again recently, luckily catching part of the annual Celtic Colours festival at the same time. I had a brief tour, tasting some older barrel samples, then the Battle of the Glen and Rare 10-year-old, alongside several others. In my estimation the quality of the whisky from Glenora has consistently improved and what they have on offer now is very special indeed.
There are particular house characteristics, which I noted as apple fruit and floral notes such as heather and lavender. There are also the expected smoky notes, although subtle, and woody flavours, as well as some honey and caramel-malt flavours. The Battle of the Glen has more “oomph” than the Rare 10-year-old, with more body, complexity and wood flavours, including caramel.
After this I simply enjoyed the free live fiddle and piano music in their cozy pub, with a good meal and took a lovely walk the next morning (after a hearty breakfast at the inn) to check out the changing fall colours, before heading to the Red Shoe pub in Mabou for a delicious lunch with Nova Scotia craft beer from Propeller and Garrison. The inn, distillery and surrounding area are true Maritime treasures. For more information go to www.glenoradistillery.com.
WHISKY OF THE WEEK
Glenora Rare 10-year-old Single Malt Canadian Whisky $74.99
Raise Your Spirits!
Courtesy: Telegraph Journal_CanadaEast
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