Glen Grant is a storied distillery with ties back to one of my favorite dead distilleries, Capperdonich, and a few weeks ago the Malt Nuts set their sights on it. We gathered, we ate, we tasted a bunch of different expressions of Glen Grant blind and we discussed what was going on.
Like all of our meetings we started with a toast to our host and then we went through each round completely blind. We tasted, noted, scored, discussed and guessed at what we were tasting before anything was revealed. Which is an incredibly important part of these tastings.
Yes we know what the theme is, how else would we bring bottles that fit the theme, but not knowing the expressions or how the tasting is arranged makes for an interesting journey with often surprising discoveries. Speaking of such things, here’s how this tasting was arranged.
- Cut Glen Grant Aged 10 – 12 Years
- Cut Glen Grants Aged 14+ Years
- Cask Strength Glen Grants Aged 12+ Years
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to dig in!
Cut Glen Grant Aged 10 – 12 Years
1A: G&M Glen Grant 10 years: 40% – (current)
- Nose: Fruit, malt, spice, apricot, vanilla, butter cookie and a bit of copper.
- Palate: Banana, apricot, malt, spice, youthful malt, vanilla and graham.
- Finish: Medium -> Honey, malt, vanilla and graham.
- Overall: B (83-86) Crisp smooth whisky and a super easy drinker. Nothing crazy, just a good simple malt.
1B: G&M Glen Grant 12 years: 43% – (old)
- Nose: Touch sulfur, grapy sweetness, vanilla taffy, toffee, Tropical fruit, fresh pastry and butterscotch.
- Palate: Fruity, spice, alkaline minerality, vanilla, honey, graham and butter crackers.
- Finish: Medium -> Honey, graham, malt and toasted bread.
- Overall: B- (80-82) An ok sipping whisky. Not something I’d drink regularly, but maybe now-and-then. The alkaline is a bit harsh, but not overly so.
1C: Major’s Reserve: 40%
- Nose: Banana bread, walnuts, vanilla, eggy custard and sugary sweet.
- Palate: Banana bread, vanilla, coconut, custard, sugary toast and melon.
- Finish: Medium -> Honey, graham, coconut, banana and chalk.
- Overall: B- (80-82) Not a bad whisky. Sweet, smooth, and buttery with a bit of a chalky nature.
1D: Glen Grant 10 years: 43%
- Nose: Fruit, malt, graham and… that’s it.
- Palate: Graham, malt, spice, bananas, minerals and… not much else.
- Finish: Medium -> Fruit, malt and done.
- Overall: C+ (77-79) So light and airy. Nothing really going on. What’s in there isn’t too bad, but there’s just not a whole lot going on.
1E: Glen Grant 12 years: 43% – New
- Nose: Perfumy fruit, malt, alkaline, waxy artificial sweetness, flowery and alcoholic.
- Palate: Alcohol, alkaline, Pixie Stix, perfumy fruit, waxy citrus and an alcohol pop.
- Finish: Medium -> Fruit, alcohol and alkaline.
- Overall: C (73-76) A bit harsh with a perfumy tone.
Cut Glen Grants Aged 14+ Years
2A: Glen Grant 16 years: 43% – old bottle
- Nose: Buttery malt, spice, toffee, butterscotch, caramel, vanilla, raisiny and buttered bread.
- Palate: Buttery malt, vanilla, toffee, butterscotch, fruit and earth.
- Finish: Medium -> Malt, vanilla, toffee, earth and spice.
- Overall: B (83-86) A warm interesting whisky.
2B: Signatory Glen Grant 16 years (97-14): 43% – Hogshead
- Nose: Fruit, honey, bubblegum, yellow cake, banana chips and artificial caramel.
- Palate: Fruit, alkaline, malt, baking soda, biscuits, banana, toffee and brown sugar.
- Finish: Medium-Long -> Banana, malt, toffee and butterscotch.
- Overall: B- (80-82) Tastes a lot younger than 16 years. It’s a bit alkaline and harsh.
2C: Old Malt Cask Glen Grant 14 years (86-01): 50%
- Nose: Vanilla, melon rind, baking powder, alkaline, spice and Creme de Noyaux.
- Palate: Vanilla, malt, citrus, peels, biscuits, salted caramel, waxy fruit and smoke.
- Finish: Long -> Sweet banana fruit, frosting, citrus, malt and a touch sulfur.
- Overall: B (83-86) There is an overall essence of Honeycomb cereal. Kind of odd, but also quite nice.
2D: Glen Grant 5 Decades (00s + 90s + 80s + 70s + 60s): 46%
- Nose: Apricot, vanilla, sugar cookies, malt, spiced mango, orchard fruit and buttery caramel.
- Palate: Apricot, vanilla, sugar cookies, malt, Necco, graham, cocoa and baking spice.
- Finish: Long -> Brown sugar, buttery cookie, graham and spice.
- Overall: A- (90-92) Like drinking an amazing tasting cookie. A buttery sugar cookie soaked in whisky. So good.
Cask Strength Glen Grants Aged 12+ Years
3A: Cadenhead’s Glen Grant 16 years: 54.1%
- Nose: Banana, fruit, malt, alcohol, brûlée, salt and vanilla.
- Palate: Banana, fruit, malt, alcohol, brûlée, salt and vanilla.
- Finish: Long -> Brown sugar, fruit, honey, spice and graham.
- Overall: B (83-86) First couple sips were hot, but a touch of water and it smoothed out nicely.
3B: A.D. Rattray Glen Grant 15 years: 53.3%
- Nose: Banana, caramel, malt, salted brûlée, brittle, fruit and buttercream frosting.
- Palate: Banana, caramel, malt, brûlée, brittle, fruit and buttercream forsting.
- Finish: Long -> Brown sugar, brûlée, malt and cream soda.
- Overall: B+ (87-89) Good. Darn good. Some interesting and complex notes with a nice subtleness to it. Decent stuff… really decent stuff.
3C: A.D. Rattray Glen Grant 21 years (92-14): 47.8% – ex-Bourbon
- Nose: Airy, fruity, malty, vanilla, citrus, apricot, pickle juice, apricots, maraschino cherries and biscuits
- Palate: Fruit, spice, malt, vanilla, cherry, spice cake and biscuits.
- Finish: Long -> Bread and butter pickles, spice, fruit and malt.
- Overall: B- (80-82) If it weren’t for that dilly / pickle-like note it wouldn’t be bad, but that’s just clashing and killing it for me.
3D: Cadenhead’s Glen Grant 15 years: 55.8%
- Nose: Fruit, honey, malt, vanilla, graham, spice, yellow cake and frosting sweetness.
- Palate: Fruit, honey, malt, vanilla, graham, spice, yellow cake and frosting sweetness.
- Finish: Long -> Bananas, spice, vanilla and malt
- Overall: B (83-86) Solid mid level whisky. Nothing wrong with it, just not very rich, everything is quite topical.
3E: SMWS Glen Grant 12 years “Coffee and cigarettes” (02-14): 59.9% – ex-Bourbon
- Nose: Major fruit bomb, vanilla, graham, spice and tootsie rolls.
- Palate: Fruit bomb, dark sweets, spice, toffee, baseball cards bubblegum and honey.
- Finish: Medium -> Baseballcard bubblegum, spice, caramel and malt.
- Overall: B (83-86) Yeah not too bad. Not too bad at all. It’s weird and the bubblegum thing is throwing me a bit off, but not terrible.
3F: Old Masters Glen Grant 13 years (93-07): 57.7%
- Nose: Crisp orchard fruit, caramel, malt, saltiness, earthy undertone.
- Palate: Orchard fruit, malt, yellow raisins, graham, vanilla, spice and oaky touch.
- Finish: Long -> Buttery fruit, malt, raisiny and yellow cake.
- Overall: B+ (87-89) A decent whisky. Some great characteristics to it, something I could sip on any day of the week and be quite happy with it.
Well, there you have it. Another successful Malt Nuts meeting. I won’t be able to make it to our next one which will be featuring Grain Whisky, but I’ll be getting the notes from someone else and we’ll have a guest note-taker. Till next time. Cheers!