Featured at World Whisky Day 2015: Glenora was until recently Canada’s only single malt whisky (and the second, Shelter Point, doesn’t begin offering product until mid-2015). There’s been a great deal of buzz around this malt in the 15 years or so it’s been on the market. Part of this is from the praise given it by luminous whisky writers like Jim Murray and Ian Buxton. The other part is the nine-year legal battle Glenora fought with the Scotch Whisky Association, where the SWA sought to prevent the use of the word “Glen” in the whisky’s name. Eventually, the case was settled for Glenora (maybe the maple leaf helped differentiate) and to celebrate, they released a special bottling called – appropriately enough – “Battle of the Glen.” This whisky also deserves special mention as the one Scotchology has gone the greatest lengths to obtain, an eight-hour round trip due to limited U.S. distribution.
Age: 10 year
Location: Nova Scotia
Maturation: American oak
Nose: Whole grain, honey, vanilla, fig newton, apple nutrigrain bar, walnut
Palate: Vanilla, applesauce, orange peel, spice, milk chocolate
Finish: Spice, apple peel
Comments: Our friend Chuck gave the best, most succinct review we’ve ever heard: “It tastes like honey…and love.” Also rates highly for decorative box.
Adam – I sure am happy this whisky worked out, considering I’m the one who drove all the way to get it and back (a surprise bonus find thrown in helped ameliorate the trek, at least). I won’t lie, I love the story behind this whisky and the distillery. Thankfully the lengths gone to procure this bottle were worth it. I’m reminded of some of the newer American whiskies from the west coast, in that apples and fruit are a part of the impression, along with a surprising grain quality. It’s light, and gives the impression of walking through an autumnal field in early evening, of abundance and rural plenty. I love how alive the nose is in a way very different from Scotch. This is something to sip as the memory of summer has only started to fade, before the chill of the night bites too harshly. The finish builds over time and is reminiscent of mulled cider as the night deepens. Yes, this one taps into powerful memories for me. Here’s hoping the distillery works out better distribution so we don’t have to go so far to get our hands on a bottle.
Kate – This is an early fall malt for me. I feel like this is very in tune with nature. I remember walking through my in-law’s corn maze before they opened it up to the public, with an earthy, malty smell to the air. This whisky would be the perfect companion. It really reminds me of their farm. It reminds me of a spice cake with nuts in it. Spicy and bready and nutty and yummy.
Meghan – This one makes me feel like the odd man out, the one in the crowd who understands the joke but just doesn’t get why it’s funny. I don’t hate it but I don’t love it. I certainly don’t like it as much as everyone around me. The fruit/grain notes are interesting, and the smooth honeyed sweetness nice, but frankly, I find myself emulating Rhett Butler and just not giving a damn.
Henry – File this under ‘A- for effort’. Since discovering Sweden’s Mackmyra and Seattle’s Westland, I’m all about the locavore’s dram. That being said, I hoped for more from this one. Instead of bringing in the sheaves, I taste amber waves of grain, with a slight white pepper edge that, while interesting, strikes an off tone. As it progresses, I get confused. Sweet and spicy, mixed with burnt cloves and grains. The finish is oaky, but a bit like an overoaked Chardonnay, and, overall, a bit too hot and dry for my taste. Here’s hoping I get to sample their newer offerings, and best of luck to Glen Breton. I’m rooting for you.