Category Archives: Glen Grant

Glen Grant 15 y.o. Batch Strength Review

I was recently approached by some of our local representation for Glen Grant. They wanted to send me a bottle of the new Batch Strength 15 year old. The implication is that I’d help share the word. I think you know me by now, I’ve never really warmed to the idea of collecting freebies. That’s not why I do this. But I had an idea. An idea that would allow the good folks who reached out to me (and do note, they were lovely) to get some honest feedback, and also allow a bunch of my mates to try a dram of a malt I know none (or few) had ever tried. And I think…I may continue this idea if more offers come in.

I accepted, with thanks, and shortly thereafter a package arrived with my name on it. First off: Love the branding. The colors pop. I know it’s not very traditional or austere, but it’s got a bit of…gumption.

So…I took the bottle into work a couple weeks back and poured a round of drams for my coworkers. Blind. I repeat, blind. All I asked was that they’d share a few thoughts as they drammed. No one had any info to work with, other than seeing the color in their glass. The rest was all sensory evaluation and rough scoring. We circled up and I began jotting down everyone’s ballpark scores and rough hollered-out tasting notes. I did the exact same thing a couple nights later with the Unkindness Collective guys, as the first dram in an evening of inebriated philosophizing (or something). I’ve bundled up all those collected notes and compiled an aggregate score based on these awesome and uber-cooperative ten individual folks’ input.

Before we get there, however, I just want to take a sec to offer up a thought for the folks at Glen Grant: Tweak this little promo package thingy you send out if you want to continue offering samples to those of us who speak about the whisky industry. The whole package seems a little…out of touch. I don’t understand the two ice cube trays that were included. Nor the logic behind sending out a bottle with Jim Murray’s endorsement stickered to the front label, in light of a rather inflammatory situation that has recently been brought to the public’s eye. Actually, not so recently, and that’s part of the problem. By nature, a bottling like this (especially with a name like “Batch Strength”) is obviously geared toward a slightly more discerning whisky drinker. Yet these two missteps make it suspect that you actually understand your target demographic. Speaking as a very passionate whisky lad: It’s hard to be passionate about a brand that obviously doesn’t hold the same that same passion. Or isn’t projecting it well, anyway. There. That’s my gripe. And that was a lot of passion.

But at the end of the day, we’re here to talk whisky, and Glen Grant in particular. I’m glad I got a try at this one. And if I’m being honest, I didn’t even know it had hit our market. My bad. It’s a decent whisky overall, but nothing that cuts an identifiable profile. I’ll probably have another dram or two, then pass the heel off to a mate. If any of my local friends care to have a go before that happens…drop me a message and I’ll pass off a sample. Whisky is meant to be shared, as the team at Glen Grant generously showed us. Thanks Team GG, on behalf of all who shared from this bottle, and will share from this bottle.

Anyway…here are the gang’s collected notes, shouted out answers, and a few of my own notes. This should give a fairly rounded profile that probably paints a more accurate picture than I could alone.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Ginger. Poached pear. Big ex-bourbon influence. Red berries and cream. Reminds of Auchentoshan Valinch, without the massive orange note. Lightly-toasted almond. Malty. Creamy. Fruity. Peppercorn. Honeyed white fruits. Banana? Fresh. Green apple. Reminds of Glenrothes. Palate: Creamy. Clean. Distillate-driven, as opposed to cask-driven. Doesn’t drink hot. Sweet. Young. Reminds of the Glenlivet Nadurra 16. Warm. Toasted wood. Cereal and grain. Finish: Short. Some others said long. Lime peel. Apple cider. Aggregate Score: 82/100

Glen Grant 1970 (Duncan Taylor) Review

Glen Grant 1970 (Duncan Taylor)018 (2)

48.5% abv

Score:  89/100

 

I’m starting to think that older Glen Grants are like Vanilla ice cream.  Always fairly pleasant, but sort of lacking the pizazz of, say…a Rocky Road or Tin Roof Sundae.  Maybe a better analogy is the ‘always a bridesmaid, never a bride’ motif. 

Let’s distill that one final step further (pun intended) and say that the older Glen Grants I’ve tried to date are rather mundane.  When you start tiptoeing back through the decades in terms of whisky vintages, those rarified older malts become rather frighteningly pricey.  I don’t necessarily have an issue with this, so long as the stuff in the bottle is akin to drinking angel’s tears and freshly-squeezed moonbeams. 

Glen Grant is one of the world’s best selling malts, and the distillery’s annual output of close to six million litres is staggering.  Obviously the whisky is good when it’s been massaged a bit, but that’s in a fit-for-purpose type scenario (i.e. many barrels vatted for single malts or the whisky being used for blending).  So how does the spirit hold up as a single cask (or small batch) bottling released by a third party?  In this situation there is almost no opportunity to hide any potential blemishes.  Barring something catastrophic happening, the company (Duncan Taylor, in this case) is almost obliged to release the stuff, and not take the multi-thousand pound loss.  Herein lies the danger in independent bottling. 

But as to the whisky at hand…

This is a fine old Glen Grant by Duncan Taylor.  Make no mistake.  It’s fruity and mature, pleasant and infinitely drinkable.  It’s simply not, however, what I need in return for an investment of 40 years and several hundreds of dollars.  Perhaps if you consider the cost as the price of admission to step back in time and taste a bit of history…fine.  Otherwise…

Nose:  Creamy.  Latex paint.  Some pineapple and soft orange fruits…but not really tropical.  Spice mix is the best part of this.  Cherry and cinnamon.  Touch of eucalyptus.  Right at the edge of being overcooked.  Hmmm…a few toes hanging over the edge actually.

Palate:  Nice arrival on spiced fruit and tasty oak.  Very nice fruits then changes direction quickly.  A little sharp…maybe too much wood.  A vague hint of smoke.

I’ve heard so, but I’m beginning to wonder if there is such thing as a stunning older Glen Grant.  Very much an example of older is not always better.

Thanks to my mate, Vikash, for the opportunity to sip at this one a couple of times now.  Cheers!

 

– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt