Google Journey to the centre of Glen Grant - Part 2

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

June 27, 2020





Angus's Corner
From our Scottish correspondent
and skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Edinburgh
Journey to the centre of Glen Grant - Part 2
Last week I suppose you could say we focussed more on the younger and more ‘natural’ examples of Glen Grant, mostly matured in plain wood. This week, with an initial exception or two, we’ll concentrate more on older, sherry-dominated, indy examples. Avante!


Glen Grant 5 yo 1967 (100 proof, Peter Thompson Ltd, 1970s)

Glen Grant 5 yo 1967 (100 proof, Peter Thompson Ltd, 1970s)
The Peter Thompson bottlings are far scarcer than their G&M counterparts - I suppose they were a smaller company and did far fewer of them - but I always found them to be of high quality on the occasions I’ve been able to try them. Colour: straw. Nose: typically austere, grassy, petrolic and chalky. This vividly bitter lemon and crushed aspirin profile. Some green pepper and dried wildflowers too. Very attractive for those that enjoy this more punchy and austere style. But probably a bit too singular for some. With water: becomes a little greener and lighter, mosses, ferns, petrichor, toasted oatmeal and a little eucalyptus. More playful overall. Mouth: much richer and more honeyed in the mouth. Flower honey, pine resins, breakfast cereals dusted with icing sugar, lemongrass and various dried herbs. Well balanced and quietly beautiful I’d say. With water: excellent now! Terrifically oily and satisfying texture with many waxes, hessian cloth, metal polish, bouillon stock, mechanical grease and a few more glimmers of pollen and honeycomb. Finish: long, drying, peppery, lightly dusty, minty and more on cereals, chalk, limestone and bitter lemon again. Comments: Personally, I adore this, although I recognise some parts - the neat nose in particular - might be a little divisive with this rather assertive austerity. Still, quality and general charisma of the distillate are very high in my view. The kind of bottling that everyone should endeavour to try if they want to grasp older style Scotch whisky characteristics I think.
SGP: 462 - 88 points.



Glen Grant 8 yo (100 proof, Gordon & MacPhail, late 1970s)

Glen Grant 8 yo (100 proof, Gordon & MacPhail, late 1970s)
Colour: deep gold. Nose: a big, leafy, creamy, meaty and earthy sherry. Lots of gunflint, rancio, game meats, balsamic and walnut oil. Punchy, fatty and pretty powerful. Not a million miles away from those old, dark vatting cube bottlings of Aberlour at 50%. Really evolves along meaty lines with all these animal fats, meat broths, mutton, bone barrow, gravy and leathery notes. With water: still very fatty but there’s a few glimmers of prunes, sultanas and figs now. Strawberry jam and some rather opulently fruity muesli. Mouth: beautiful arrival, slick, oily in texture, rich and yet also balanced with plenty of syrupy dark fruits keeping those meatier aspects in check. Some pipe tobacco, leaf mulch and wine cellar must in the middle of it all too. With water: drier, leaner, earthier and fresher. Some gun metal, old toolboxes, camphor, putty, mushroom powder and even some cereals fighting through. Finish: long, leathery, drying, some dark chocolate and soy sauce coming through in the aftertaste. Comments: pristine, young sherried Glen Grant. These kinds of bottlings were the A’bunadhs of their day I suppose.
SGP: 561 - 91 points.



Glen Grant 15 yo (100 proof, Gordon & MacPhail, -/+1975)

Glen Grant 15 yo (100 proof, Gordon & MacPhail, -/+1975)
One of the darkest batches of this I’ve seen. This one comes with a price sticker on the top of the cap which says £10,09p, which in today’s money is equivalent to £77,00. But before you all holler about ‘the good old days’, that was a very expensive bottle at the time, and many indy bottlers would release a 15yo Glen Grant for not too dissimilar a price in today’s market… Colour: amber. Nose: close to the 8yo in many ways, but there is just this extra depth of concentration and complexity going on here. Stunningly leathery and honeyed with many pollens, walnuts, sticky dark fruits and bags of rancio. in time there’s also more tropical elements coming through, guava jam, dried mango and lime. With water: many preserved dark fruits, jams, old cognacs, rancio, chocolate and a few smashed Brazil nuts. Mouth: warm, spicy and darkly fruity at first. Lots of sultana, raisins, pomegranate molasses, treacle, soft sooty notes and soy sauce. Also coffee, bitter chocolate and green walnut liqueur. Getting increasingly earthy and herbal with time. With water: stunning now! A perfect balance of fruits, earths, chocolate, spices and rancio now. Finish: long, meaty, leathery, sweetly fruity, concentrated and deeply earthy with many wee touches of tobacco, old Cognac and chocolate. Comments: … now, about those brand new £77 Glen Grants, I suspect precisely none of them would be hitting this level of quality. Therein lies the rub.
SGP: 662 - 93 points.



Glen Grant 46 yo 1972/2019 (44.8%, Berry Brothers ‘Exceptional Casks’, cask #8240, refill oloroso sherry butt, 159 bottles)

Glen Grant 46 yo 1972/2019 (44.8%, Berry Brothers ‘Exceptional Casks’, cask #8240, refill oloroso sherry butt, 159 bottles)
I have it on good authority that this cask really was discovered in a warehouse, as opposed to ‘discovered’ on a spreadsheet. Colour: amber. Nose: it’s different from the many 72s bottled about a decade ago by the likes of Duncan Taylor et al. This is more concentrated on ripe fruits galore. Baked apple, rhubarb crumble, mango chutney, banana liqueur. A kind of fruit schizophrenia. Also rather a lot of fruit jellies and sweeties, very confectionary. Beyond that there’s some more elegant sherry notes such as balsamic glaze and rosewater. Luscious and superbly elegant. Mouth: drier and more on tobaccos, dried flowers, dried citrus peels and crystallised exotic fruits. Many notes of various fruit teas, mint leaf and quite a bit of pollen and tea tree oil. Not as lush as the nose, but then isn’t that so often the case with old whiskies? Evolves with these softer bread notes and things like orange peel, dark chocolate and miso. Getting deeper, earthier and more towards lemon peel, herbal bitters and Turkish delight. Finish: medium and rather resinous, some tannic black teas, stewed dark fruits, bitter chocolate and tobacco. Comments: At times you would think it’s too tired, but then it punches right back. Quite an evolution on display and probably captured in the nick of time. Loved the meandering fruitiness that keeps veering from the dark to the exotic and back again.
SGP: 651 - 91 points.



Glen Grant 31 yo 1970/2001 (55.4%, Adelphi, cask #1036, sherry)

Glen Grant 31 yo 1970/2001 (55.4%, Adelphi, cask #1036, sherry)
Colour: black coffee. Nose: take three parts beef stock, one part mole sauce, a modest punnet of pipe tobacco and another 3 parts top quality dark chocolate and then garnish with some freshly brewed espresso! Really, this is the kind of out and out sherry bomb that seems to increasingly belong to the past. You can also find many extremely concentrated dark fruits drenched in an even mix of aged dark rum and old Cognac. All about the sherry, but the sherry is rather pristine so far so we cannot complain. With water: gets more bitter, all on superbly punchy dark chocolate, freshly brewed office coffee, pumpernickel bread, natural tar extract and old school herbal bitters. A whole dunnage warehouse of damp earth! Still wonderfully clean. Mouth: big arrival all on pure chocolate sauce, some smoked chilli, coffee and walnut cake, soy sauce and some kind of mad beef soup. Many notes of various meat stocks and reductions - seriously, you could season enough risotto for an Army with a bottle of this. Very deep and hyper concentrated. Some black pepper and strong black tea. With water: calmer and a little more cohesive for sure, but this is still big. BIG sherried whisky. Suet, mutton stock, venison salami, black pepper, soy sauce, hessian, old leather and bitter almond cordial. Finish: super long, densely meaty, sooty and with big notes of fig jam, prune juice, cranberry sauce and some kind of ancient, rather dark Calvados (Lemorton 1926!) Comments: The sherry will be too much for some, but because it remains clean throughout and by some miracle doesn’t totally desiccate your gums, I think it’s a pretty superb old drop. Not too many other whiskies could dance to well with such a bonkers cask.
SGP: 572 - 91 points.



Glen Grant 1963/1986 (59.4%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #9.2)

Glen Grant 1963/1986 (59.4%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #9.2)
Colour: coppery amber. Nose: a pickle of boozy fruitcake and then many fruit preserves and jams. Apricot conserve and also a lot of fruit eau de vies, the rather rustic kind that you can find in Alsace made annually by humble artisan marketing executives in attractive rural villages. Becomes serious sweet and syrupy, really doubling down on apricots, peach schnapps and hints of orange oil, kumquat and very old dessert wine. There’s flower honey in there alongside all these jams, along with glazed pastries and some wild strawberry. Quite beautiful and rather ‘different’ from what you might expect. With water: it’s a little calmer now and more on breads, dried fruits, tobaccos, lychee, rosewater, aged calvados and lemon peel. Also some subtle floral aspects in the background. Compelling and deeply eloquent whisky. Mouth: warming, deeply complex and again very concentrated and syrupy. Piles more apricot, stewed apple, exotic hardwood resins, satsuma, some very old Cointreau, old calvados, crystallised lemon peel and spicy chai tea. Even brings to mind things like incense and pot pourri, then various dried herbs like oregano and tarragon. There’s a lot going on you feel like you are pulled in multiple directions. With water: really terrific now. More powerful, more deeply complex, many dried fruits, earthier notes, more tobaccos, some treacle, putty, mineral oil, animal furs, bouillon stock - just endlessly entertaining and fascinating. Finish: super long, very focussed on herbal and exotic fruit teas, mango jam, lemon peel (again), light sooty touches, camphor, putty, resinous herbal notes and some eucalyptus. Comments: I feel this is a whisky that somewhat defies categorisation. I would guess it’s from a sherry cask but it really feels deeply idiosyncratic and individualistic. There’s so much divergent and deviant stuff going on, it’s like if you liquified all five seasons of The Wire and consumed it in one go. Anyway, superb old Glen Grant, yet again I’m afraid.
SGP: 661 - 92 points.



Glen Grant 40 yo 1959/1999 (48.9%, Whisky Club of Austria, released in 2007, 22 bottles)

Glen Grant 40 yo 1959/1999 (48.9%, Whisky Club of Austria, released in 2007, 22 bottles)
I’ve never been sure if this one had been released elsewhere under a different label, it was from a small parcel of unlabelled stock acquired by Heinz and Konstantin of Whisky Club of Austria back in 2007. Anyway, it carries a lofty reputation. Colour: amber. Nose: as they say in Glasgow: ‘Ohh La La!!!’ A stunning cocktail of exotic and dark fruits alongside game meats and the kind of fruity and earthy complexity you usually find in very mature red Burgundies. Mushrooms, smoked dark chocolate, miso, soy sauce, salted liquorice and natural tar. Eucalyptus oils, herbal teas and an ocean of rancio. Just spellbinding and utterly exquisite I’m afraid! In time it almost doubles down of this sort of smoked chocolate sauce profile. Mouth: majestic. A perfect fusion of sticky dark fruits drenched in ancient cognac, with strong earl grey tea, aged soy sauce, cured venison, more natural tar notes, long-aged herbal liqueurs, very old balsamico, pine wood and walnut wine. So dark and dense and deeply concentrated and thick, and yet not the slightest bit tired. On the contrary, it’s alive and fresh and vivid and brimming with potency. The tannins are soft and creamy and peppery but never aggressive. Just so wonderfully dense, sumptuous and gorgeous. We’re getting carried away now, apologies. Finish: endlessly long and riddled with tobaccos, waxed hardwoods, crystallised exotic fruits, aged teas, dried herbs and cured meats. Comments: I’m really teetering on the brink here in terms of scoring. I was at 93 but the finish was just incredible and there’s only a handful of bottles so who cares. Amazing whisky and big thanks to the lovely gents who had the presence of mind to do something fun with it back in 2007.
SGP: 672 - 94 points.



Heartfelt thanks to Serge!




More tasting notesCheck the index of all Glen Grant malts we've tasted so far







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