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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

August 7, 2013



The Whiskyfun Anniversary Tastings
Five decades of Glen Grant
(1997, 1984, 1972, 1969, 1959)

I think Glen Grant, which was a shining star in the 1960s and 1970s, recently became a bigger name again thanks to the… independents. Thank you, Gordon & MacPhail (and affiliated smaller bottlers), who filled so many superb sherry casks! And yet we’ll pick only Glen Grants that were not matured in heavy first fill oloroso-style sherry today… Such as…

Glen Grant 15 yo 1997/2013 (55.8%, Chieftain's, Islay cask matured, cask #70451, 318 bottles)

Glen Grant 15 yo 1997/2013 (55.8%, Chieftain's, Islay cask matured, cask #70451, 318 bottles) Three stars Should we expect a peatiness? Colour: white wine. Nose: anybody who’s tried to blend malt whiskies knows that the slightest proportion of peated whisky shows like the nose in the middle of the face, and that’s the case here. How many litres of peater were remaining in the cask? Several for sure, as Glen Grant hasn’t got much to say anymore. Only touches of pineapples and pears… It’s actually a little weird, it feels aromatised. With water: pears and pineapples galore! And straight peat smoke. Curious about the palate…Mouth (neat): the peat is even louder, it really is virtually a vatting. Now, it works better than on the nose. It’s actually as peaty as, say Talisker. Not kidding. And pineapples again, pears, sweet peat, barley sugar, liquorice allsorts, smoke…  With water: this is nice now. Easy fruity peat. Finish: long, sweet, peaty. Lemony aftertaste. Comments: the nearest whisky I can think of is actually Connemara. A fun bottling to confuse your friends and enemies during tastings. And it’s quite good! SGP:624 (unusual profile) - 80 points.

Glen Grant 25 yo 1984/2009 (55%, Jack Wiebers, Scottish Castles, cask #4008)

Glen Grant 25 yo 1984/2009 (55%, Jack Wiebers, Scottish Castles, cask #4008) Two stars Colour: white wine. Nose: this is funny! There’s plenty of chocolate sauce and lovage (or is that soy sauce?) and quite some tar too. Where does that come from? It’s so un-Glen Grant… And some struck matches and cooked asparagus too, and yet the whisky’s so light in colour, it cannot be first or even second fill sherry. Mysteries… With water: matches matches matches. Bizarre… Mouth (neat): sweet malt, sweet malt, sweet malt. And milk chocolate. Not much else. With water: better, but the matches remain. It’s an unusual – and pretty challenging – Glen Grant. Finish: rather long, curiously herbal and even astringent for Glen Grant. Comments: for the record. Some parts were quite nice but Glen Grant produce millions of litres of malt whisky. Some are better. SGP:271 - 70 points.

Glen Grant 39 yo 1972/2011 (51.2%, Jack Wiebers Old Train Line, refill sherry)

Glen Grant 39 yo 1972/2011 (51.2%, Jack Wiebers Old Train Line, refill sherry) Four stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: oh holy featherless crow, it’s one of these 1972s again. How many great malts have been distilled in 1972? Perfect honey, pollen, overripe plums, figs, flowers, sultanas, passion fruits… Indeed all this is perfect. With water: OH! Mouth (neat): fantastic. The fruits are fabulous here, and yet it’s no simple fruit bomb, there’s much more than that. Like, some Virginia tobacco (when we smoked untipped cigarettes and when a little tobacco was coming into our mouths). Or the best cuvees of Cointreau, Chartreuse, Gebirgs Enzian ;-)… Perfect. With water: ueberperfect (or wouldn’t that be ueberperfekt?) Even the oak, that now gets louder, is adding appealing flavours. Such as oriental aniseed and coconut liqueurs… Whatever! Finish: long, rather complex. It’s only in the aftertaste that the oak’s becoming too drying – loses at least 3 or 4 points at this stage. Comments: too bad the finish was less entrancing, otherwise, what a Glen Grant! But then again, it’s 1972… SGP:561 - 89 points.

Glen Grant 34 yo 1969/2003 (51.5%, Duncan Taylor, Peerless, cask #2539, 163 bottles)

Glen Grant 34 yo 1969/2003 (51.5%, Duncan Taylor, Peerless, cask #2539, 163 bottles) Three stars Colour: full gold. Nose: it’s so difficult to pass after a 1972! Some parts are very interesting and even nice (the roses, the litchis) but it’s also sourer, with more sawdust and even a little sour cream. What’s much nicer, though, is the bergamot or earl grey tea. The jury’s still out… With water: yes and no. The sour side gets louder, but the tropical fruits are louder as well. We’re talking coconut and pineapple. That’s right, pina colada. Mouth (neat): it’s less overshadowed by the 1972 than on the nose at this point but still, it’s not as thrilling. The oak’s greener and grassier – and more tannic – and that creates tiny false tastes, around paraffin and plastic. But don’t get me wrong, it’s very fine old Glen Grant, it’s just not as perfect as the 1972. With water: wait, it swims better than the 1972 on the palate. Granted, this pina colada’s a little dull but at least, it’s sexy. Finish: no. Too drying, green, grassy, tannic. You can count your vertebras while it goes down, which is actually handy. In a way. Comments: many ups and downs in this baby. Long story short, it’s too oaky. SGP:471 - 82 points.

Glen Grant 1959/2006 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, licensed bottling)

Glen Grant 1959/2006 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, licensed bottling) Four stars and a half Colour: full gold. Nose: and yet another perfect one. It’s amazing that the very low strength goes unnoticed, maybe it’s the stunning complexity and subtleness that just wins you over. Dates, raisins, dried bananas, figs, mangos, pineapples, various honeys, various herbal teas… And old Sauternes, old vendanges tardives from Alsace, high-end pipe tobacco… I don’t know, this is just wonderful. Now, it may be a little too weak on the palate, let’s see… Mouth: indeed, it’s lightish and maybe a notch unsatisfying because of that. The low strength seems to make the oaky/drying parts stand out, while the fruits and associated herbs have less to say in this context. A crying shame because you can feel that there’s a lot going on, it’s just all muted, in a way. Especially the herbal teas… Finish: quite short but not as short as feared. A little more tropical again. Papayas? More menthol in the aftertaste.  Comments: I’ve probably written this one thousand times, this, at 45 or 50% vol., would be an extraordinary whisky. And what a nose! And yet, some Glen Grants at 40% by G&M have been stunning in spite of their low strength… SGP:541 - 89 points.

(With thanks to Konstantin)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Glen Grants I've tasted so far







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