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Oh Canada …

theSpeakista is tired!  I just flew in from Nova Scotia and boy are my arms tired (queue snare drum and rim shot sound).  Thank you Bobo! Thank you very much for the birthday gift.  Bobo planned a trip for my b-day that encompassed fly fishing lessons, golf and a single malt whisky distillery visit all in one trip, in one remote Canadian location.  Thanks to our guide John and the amazing river passages in Margaree Forks I have most definitely caught the fly fishing bug and I am in planning mode for my future lessons.

Enough of that blather, on to something more relevant to this blog — whisky!  Knowing that I am a lover of all things Scotch whisky related, Bobo planned a visit to the Glenora distillery, Canada’s only single malt whisky distillery.  We went with high hopes, and left with mixed feelings (Bobo I think more than I).

The Distillery:  situated just off the Cabot Trail in Glenville, Nova Scotia, you enter the distillery on a semi-dirt/semi-gravel drive wave that leads up to a typical looking Scotch distillery building of all white wood. The compound is comprised of several different buildings including a gift shop, racking area, inn, chalets, pub and distillery.  We paid our C$7 for the tour and off we went for a relatively brief and not all that informative tour.  Brief, brief and very brief it was … I have a greater understanding of the production of whisky(ey) stored in my little mind than did the tour guide and at the end we were given a sample of just one whisky, the 10 year offering that is their flag ship product.  After about fifteen minutes the tour ended and we sadly (due both to the lack of substance and taste testing) made our way to the on-premise pub/restaurant for some additional taste testing and a little grub.

The Whisky:  Where to start? The offering, a single “shot”, provided on the tour and I’m sure meant to steer prospective purchasers towards the gift shop is the recent ten-year bottling – a wholly meek, and feeble offering.  There is little by way of presence in this spirit and it has none of the bold, assertiveness of its cross pond siblings. Having made our way over to the on-site pub I did a flight of various whiskies including their version of un-aged spirit, the aforementioned 10 year, the Battle of the Glen’s, the cask proof version aged in used ice wine casks and their full on cask strength offering. Of these I oddly enjoyed the un-aged spirit which had a certain earthiness to it with a great smoothness on the palate. By far the most flavorful characters were the two cask strength spirits.  While I enjoyed these, I had no desire to spend C$100 for a 250ml bottle.

Bobo and I had a nice enough dinner and a over all fun time visiting Glenora, we just felt underwhelmed at the offerings.

Faced with the classic dilemma of what to buy in duty free I found myself face-to-face with three Glenora offerings.  As all were north of C$130 for litre sized bottles, I instead played bond trader (which I am) and arbitraged the game buying a bottle of Crown Royal Black for C$28 (an almost $15 discount to my local liquor sources).  Upon my return home I went to my shelf of goodies pulled out my Tuthilltown Hudson Single Malt and enjoyed a much better spirit … brash, bold this spirit while young offers a course in flavor and character that the Glenora spirits simply lack.

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