Google Some wonderful old Glen Grant for Mattias

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

June 10, 2023





Angus's Corner
From our correspondent and
skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Scotland
Some wonderful old Glen Grant for Mattias
Today's tasting is for Mattias Johannesson, who very sadly passed away from cancer this week. As is so often the case in these circumstances, he was far too young and we are left contemplating the all too common cruelties and injustices to be found in life.


I only met Mattias a few times, but he was a very kind, warm, humble and gentle man. The kind of person who's qualities were immediate and outwardly apparent. He made much of the arrangements on my last trip to Sweden, just last year, where I did a tasting for his whisky club and we were able to spend some time together. I recall very fondly the time I spent chatting to him in his home and meeting his wonderful family. He loved whisky and he was a longstanding reader and supporter of Whiskyfun. I would simply like to extend my deepest condolences to his family and to dedicate today's tasting of some beautiful old Glen Grants to Mattias and to his quiet but great strength of character and humour.



Glen Grant 22 yo 2000/2022 (57.1%, Signatory Vintage for The Whisky Exchange, cask #1, 1st fill sherry butt finish, 686 bottles)

Glen Grant 22 yo 2000/2022 (57.1%, Signatory Vintage for The Whisky Exchange, cask #1, 1st fill sherry butt finish, 686 bottles)
We wouldn't ordinarily commence a tasting quite so high in strength, age, or sherry influence, but this is going to be a session mostly dominated by old gems, so this feels like the appropriate aperitif. Colour: deep amber. Nose: highly polished and rather precise on things like chocolate coated Brazil nuts, pot pourri, sultanas and some rather posh fruit jams. I also find a few nicely scented hardwoods in the background. With water: figs and gravy! Cranberry gravy I would add. But yes, this kind of jams and gamey / savoury stock fusion vibe is quite clear now. Mouth: the modernity feels more apparent here with these slightly grippier tannins up front, but also nicely drying cocoa and dark chocolate vibes, sawn rosewood, treacle and salted dark chocolate. Still some dried flower petal impressions in there too. With water: goes more in the earthy direction I find, with some nice notes of slightly tannic teas, bergamot and raisins. I suspect the finishing was a good length of time as the sherry feels very well integrated. Finish: medium, on salted almonds, marzipan, jams and ultra-classic dry sherry characteristics. Comments: probably more about the thrills of clever double maturation than about Glen Grant, but it's still a pretty top notch modern sherry bomb.
SGP: 561 - 87 points.



Glen Grant 10 yo (70 proof, OB, 1960s)

Glen Grant 10 yo (70 proof, OB, 1960s)
Cork cap and cube bottle in a charmingly old school tartan box. One I opened early this year, just because it's important to always have a few old Glen Grants open on your shelf… Colour: pale gold. Nose: gah! Mushroom powders, toolboxes full of hessian rags, bone marrow, herb tea, shoe polish and wax mashed up with old dried out honey. Add in some ointments and gentle medicines too. Mouth: you wouldn't believe this was 70 proof! Waxes, leathers, dried honeys, dried herbs, old Drambuie from the 1950s, herbal cough syrups, cheng pi orange peels and old dried out fruit liqueurs. Many tertiary flavours too, that feel like they come from old sherry wood, salty things, dried fruits, wee earthy and rooty notes. Wonderful! Finish: medium, perfectly dry, slightly sappy, medicinal and with nicely herbal touches. Comments: I keep saying I am going to stop writing notes for these bottlings, but perhaps I really am this time. Dreadful whisky, etc etc…
SGP: 472 - 91 points.



Glen Grant 10 yo (80 proof, Andrew Collie & Co Ltd, circa 1960)

Glen Grant 10 yo (80 proof, Andrew Collie & Co Ltd, circa 1960)
Glass code is NB5 A3 UGB with many encircling wee dots - so, circa 1960 I'd say. Andrew Collie being one of seemingly many old Aberdonian merchants to bottle their own Glen Grant under license. Colour: bright straw. Nose: much like the OB, but only fatter, more sinewed, even drier and really quite 'broad shouldered'. A style that's long gone really, apart from the odd Springbank or Ben Nevis here or there I would say. A whisky that is dominated and driven almost entirely by distillate power and charisma! In this case that charisma is really entirely about waxes, oils, minerals, animal fats and medicines! Mouth: stunning! A pure, intense waxiness, layered with mineral oils, mineral salts, tiny leathery notes, savoury stocks and herbal embrocations. Leaves your teeth feeling greasy! Finish: long, stunningly dry, almost salty and tense, more fats, minerals, grassy olive oil and putty. Beautifully and subtly medicinal too. Comments: it's not only old Glen Grant that display's this profile, but there's a sheen of pure class about this distillate from this era that is irrefutable. A glorious old gem that sends pretty much all modern 10 year olds back to the stillroom!
SGP: 372 - 93 points.



Glen Grant 5 yo (104 proof, Campbell Hope & King, 1950s)

Glen Grant 5 yo (104 proof, Campbell Hope & King, 1950s)
We're getting into even older glass, this one is code A4 R10 UGB with many more even smaller dots encircling. So I believe it should be safe to assume this would be early 1950s distillate. I can also tell you that, according to the small price sticker still adhered to the shoulder of this bottle, it originally cost 8 shillings (*). Colour: the palest of white wines - almost new make. Nose: similarities and differences. This shared sense of fatness, greasiness, oiliness and mineral oils. But there's even more trebly fruit here, barely extract, pineapple, touches of passion fruit, lime and lemon. A feeling of a new make that is really, truly a barley eau de vie in the very precise sense of that imaginary category. I should add: stunning! Some gorgeous tertiary aromas of dried mint, lanolin, chalk and elderflower. With water: (First of all the viscimetry is immense, these old malts are so much about texture!) white fruits, minerals, chalk, limestone, brittle waxes and dried herbs like thyme and sage. Also some light impressions of animal furs. Mouth: stunning purity and power! Grass, brake pads, olive oil, eucalyptus, dried herbs, dried mango chunks and exotic fruit teas. Also, quite frankly, big, flabby, oily new make vibes once again, but really in the greatest sense of that characteristic. Hugely mineral and also impressively citric too. With water: softer, bringing more of the oils and waxes to the fore, becoming more broad in its texture and engaging the whole mouth. Some sweeter and toastier cereal notes, lanolin again, more cooking oils and more greasy vibes. Finish: long, superbly mineral, drying, lemony, herbaceous and full of verbena, lime skin, putty, cough medicines and waxes. Comments: let's be honest, you really have to be into this style of almost ideologically distillate driven spirit to love this - thankfully, that's exactly me and so I just adore it. If you gave me this blind and told me it had spent its life in a clay amphora on the Moon a gazillion miles from the nearest cask stave, I would have said "Which crater?". Probably not 'technically' as dazzling as the previous 10yo, but this is still a masterclass in truly great distillate.
SGP: 362 - 92 points.



Always a tricky decision about how to place these high octane old youngsters amongst softer old oldsters. But I believe we have a pathway through…



Glen Grant-Glenlivet 16 yo 1963/1979 (80 proof, Cadenhead Dumpy)

Glen Grant-Glenlivet 16 yo 1963/1979 (80 proof, Cadenhead Dumpy)
Should we expect waxes, metal polish and soot…? Colour: deep orangey amber. Nose: no, actually this is a sherried one and this is going rather deeply into old Demerara rum with big notes of fudge, camphor, raisins and cedar wood cigar boxes. Requires a little time to awaken I think, but with time it really does begin to pick up more of these classically earthy, salty and rancio sherry notes of old. Also perhaps some resinous fir and hardwood notes. Mouth: the ABV clearly does some heavy lifting here as there's a wonderful thickness in the mouth, feelings of walnut liqueur, salted liquorice, truffle oil and strong black tea with these nicely nippy tannins. It's also slightly gingery, on ginger liqueur with dried exotic fruit chunks in the background. Finish: medium, nicely salty, drying and onto tobacco leaf, more liquorice, more walnuts and some top notch espresso! Comments: not uber complex, but a big and pretty perfect old school sherried Glen Grant that manages to juggle all those salty, sweet, bitter and drying components with aplomb.
SGP: 471 - 90 points.



Glen Grant 27 yo (70 proof, Gordon & MacPhail, early 1970s)

Glen Grant 27 yo (70 proof, Gordon & MacPhail, early 1970s)
From that rather charming old thistle stencilled glass series that would likely make it an early 1970s bottling. Colour: gold. Nose: extremely typical of these old G&M malts from this 30s/40s/early 50s era, or perhaps, just as typical of the sherry casks G&M were filling in those days. Which is to say, riddled with coconut, exotic fruits, delicate threads of peat smoke and fusion of gentle sweetness and rancio that is completely alluring. Various subtle aromas of shoe and metal polishes, a hint of bouillon, some medicinal herbs and things like camphor and wormwood. Gorgeous and exactly as hoped/anticipated. Mouth: similarly very immediate and very typical. Same feeling of super old school American oak ex-transport sherry cask with these sweeter coconut notes, many dried exotic fruits, tropical fruit teas, herbal cough syrup, distant rumours of dry peat smoke and hints of things like white truffle, aged mead and classical camphor and hessian notes. Finish: a tad short, but still wonderfully exotic, coconutty, medicinal, honeyed and with plenty soft waxy notes. Comments: runs out of steam ever so slightly towards the end (G&M with their 70 proof!) but it's still glorious and rather embarrassingly pleasurable old whisky to scoff if you have an entire bottle at your disposal.
SGP: 652 - 89 points.



Glen Grant 27 yo (40%, Prime Malt, Carlton Import USA, 1980s)

Glen Grant 27 yo (40%, Prime Malt, Carlton Import USA, 1980s)
This rather obscure old Prime Malt series more famously sheltered some legendary Laphroaig batches, the Glen Grants are less well known though. Colour: ruby / amber. Nose: exquisitely fruity old sherry. All riddled with figs, walnut oil, camphor, concentrated red fruit jams - I want to say 'sultana curds' something which doesn't exist but I feel should. Underneath that a similar but more subdued feeling of American oak-derived coconut. The fusion of those styles and overall concentration is rather aromatically glorious I have to say. Mouth: same feeling of the G&M but with added heavier sherry influence, in a way that adds greater weight and complexity with more salinity, more bitter almond and walnut notes, tannic black teas, roots, bitter herbs, cough medicines and background layers of dried exotic fruits. A whisky that is really cosplaying as a stunning, ancient Grande Champagne cognac. If I were to have a very large dram of this poured for me in a cognac snifter glass, I don't believe I could find it within myself to complain. Finish: medium, but stunningly herbal, perfectly bitter, again on walnuts, rancio, unlit cigars, pipe tobacco, bitter salted chocolate and very subtle hints of tarragon and dried mint in the aftertaste. Comments:  I would say this hyper-easy, very fruity and yet also rather dry and elegantly salty style of sherry is my favourite. I also wonder how much of this character is driven by sitting in glass for many years after being reduced for bottling? Like the G&M, I could guzzle litres of this outrageous juice.
SGP: 462 - 92 points.



Glen Grant 25 yo 1953 (86 US proof, Stuart MacNair & Co Ltd, John Gross Import USA)

Glen Grant 25 yo 1953 (86 US proof, Stuart MacNair & Co Ltd, John Gross Import USA)
The previous bottling was imported by Carlton Imports in Baltimore, as was this one by John Gross, also in Baltimore and also the agent for Laphroaig for a while. Oh to visit a Baltimore spirit merchant in the 1980s! Colour: deep gold. Nose: far less sherried, so also a little more complex and elusive in some ways. Many earthier and waxier tones up front, more sooty notes, metal polish - could be impersonating an old Cadenhead dumpy in some lights - dried out old honeys, camphor, dried mint, old throat lozenges and tiger balm. A wonderful style and profile, but one that requires a tad more focus and concentration! These rather complex honeyed notes become increasingly fascinating and start to incorporate dried out old flowers and their pollens along with salted mead and more camphor. Mouth: yes! Amazing what 43% can do! Wonderful fatness and waxiness is draped in layers across this same very honeyed profile. Also yellow fruits, mirabelle, quince, jasmine flower, mango and wee notes of exotic fruit teas. A perfect balance of sweetness and dryness, with medicinal notes encroaching from underneath adding to the overall complexity, which is really impressive. Finish: long, salty, honeyed, waxy, perfectly herbaceous, fruity and yet also with these drier and greasier notes that make you think of the old Andrew Collie 10yo we had earlier. Comments: my friend Iain and I opened this bottle late one night and it felt a tad underwhelming at the time when freshly opened. But this has turned out to be a deeply compelling and remarkably complex old Glen Grant that demands - and commands - your focus and concentration. It's always worth giving these old bottles time once opened.
SGP: 562 - 93 points.



Big thanks to Aaron, Jason, Iain and the good folk at the San Francisco Whisky Club!



But most of all, here's to Mattias and to his family.



(*) £8.38 in today's money

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







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