To be classed as one of the best-selling single malt distilleries in Scotland, you need to be able expand, re-invent and keep up with demand. May I please welcome then Glen Grant, a brand considered of such a title. But how did this all come about?
Glen Grants established itself back in 1840 by two brothers, John and James Grant, close to the port of Garmouth and the River Spey to the south. They were pioneers in the whisky trade and became the first to install electric lighting just over twenty years after opening. In 1872, James Grant unfortunately passed away and the distillery was passed down to his son, Major James Grant. James built a second distillery across the road, joined by a whisky pipe which transported the new make spirit across. Glen Grant No. 2, as it was first known, was completed in 1897, but just five years later it was closed. Soon after in 1931, Major Grant, the last Glen Grant, died, handing the reigns to Douglas MacKessack, his grandson.
Once 1965 rolled around, the previously closed Glen Grant No. 2 re-opened under the name Caperdonich, followed by Glenlivet and Glen Grant Distilleries Ltd merging with Hill, Thomson and Co. Ltd, and Longmorn Distilleries Ltd to form Glenlivet Distillers Ltd in 1972. From here, the Glenlivet Distillers Ltd was under the umbrella of Chivas Brothers via Pernod Ricard, until 2006 when the Campari Group acquired Glen Grant whisky distillery for the sum of €115m.
Regarding production, Glen Grant are the only distillery in Scotland to use purifiers in both of their two distillations. This was an invention of James “The Major” Grant and ensures that only the purest vapour is allowed to pass from the still to the condenser, creating hopefully a fresh and light whisky. All bourbon and sherry casks used in the maturation period are individually hand-picked by Dennis Malcolm, one of 8 Glen Grant Distillery Managers since 1890, with natural spring water used from the Scottish Highlands during all stages of production.
So how do the Glen Grant expressions fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on my experiences so far –
Glen Grant 10yr – 40%
Matured in bourbon casks for 10 years. Light with a good hit of fresh, ripe fruit on the nose. Slight sweet sherry notes come through too. Plenty of fresh, flesh fruits on the palate, with a thick texture of vanilla and oak near the finish. A rich, bold finish with a slight hazelnut aroma.
Glen Grant The Major’s Reserve – 40%
No age statement malt aged in bourbon casks. Incredibly soft with green apple and pear notes on the nose. Sweet flavours of oak, vanilla and fudge on the palate, followed by a spice kick that develops a slight treacle note. Spicy, lingering finish.
Not a bed selection there at all, with The Major’s Reserve a recommendation for anyone trying to get into the Scottish whisky world. There is also a 16yr variation available from within the core range, as well as some more exclusive bottling’s including 25yr, 50yr and a Distillery Edition, amongst many independent bottling’s from the likes of Gordon and MacPhail.
Worthy of a space in your drinks cabinet, and offers a good tipple at the end of the day.
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