What do you think of when you hear the name, Glen Grant? It’s an interesting question as there is a myriad of possibilities. As a brand, it is neither here nor there today. I’d be intrigued to know what aura Glen Grant has with the modern day – or I’ve just discovered whisky in the last couple of years – drinker?
Chances are very little would resonate with this demographic. Oh sure, Jim Murray has tried his best with the Bible-thumping antics in recent times. Is it really the best single malt 10 years or less from Scotland with multiple casks? Is it feck. Yes, it is an opinion versus another, but when I scribble down my list of favourite whiskies a decade or less in age the Glen Grant isn’t even there. Top 5, top 10 or even within the orbit of such a list. The whisky is nada.
Jim’s always been a fan of Moet and their Ardbeg’s so the staple 10 year seems an odd omission. Yes, batch variations do occur even with the best efforts of Dr Bill Lumsden and his team, who do a sterling job given the limited output at Ardbeg in the face of rising demand. Perhaps Moet and Jim aren’t talking to each other these days? He seems to rate the Glen Grant 18 year old as a significant whisky as well so have we overlooked something?
For me, the Talisker 10 is a constant delight and then you have the rising star with the Ben Nevis 10 year old. All good and from memory better than the Glen Grant 10. I’ll even push the boat out and say the Laphroaig 10 as well, which is significant given the murderous quality that this distillery is content to ship out as its no age statement releases. The question remains where does this leave the Glen Grant?
When I think of Glen Grant an assortment of memories revives from the recesses of my whisky themed mind. The lovely setting at the distillery and the woodland walk around the site. The lightness of the spirit and its popularity in the warmer Mediterranean climate. The sheer abundance of the Glen Grant inventory in bygone times that meant the old-style bottlings were full of gloriously tasty juice. Big variations again with these releases – bit of theme developing here – yet fond memories of cracking open an old bottle and just letting friends and strangers suck up that glorious sherry themed malt with elegance and style aplomb.
Recently I’ve been buying bottles which if you follow me on Instagram or somewhere else doesn’t come as a surprise. You work hard and after spending time with friends and family there’s always the treat of a wee dram. My perception is skewed at times. For MALT I’m always aware of a gap or need within our growing bank of reviews. Sometimes this pulls me down roads I’d rarely venture along with the promise of sitting down with a whisky. It still strikes me as odd that some whisky review outlets – insert your social media channel of choice here – rarely cover the poor, disappointing or hopelessly overpriced whiskies. If and when they do it is often a benign insipid piece of drivel that wastes everyone’s time. I’d like to think when we do sit down with a whisky we’re not alone as it isn’t merely for ourselves but onlookers such as you the readers. Take the recent Brenne Cuvée Spéciale French Single Malt whisky article. A goddam awful whisky with its brand plastered all over Instagram yet no real debate over the contents. Everything is so superficial and fleeting except you deserve better.
Here I am standing in the travel retail section on Malta deciding what needs to be covered. My first choice was a pretty poor one with the Grant’s Elementary Carbon 6 year old release. It was pretty cheap but the whisky was far from attractive or even passable – the whisky equivalent of waking up the morning after and then the memories hit home. I actually couldn’t bring myself to dispose of the 90cl that was left. The kitchen sink was tempting but instead, I did what I normally do and just gave the bottle away to someone that might use it as a mixer or paint stripper. My other selection at a slightly higher price of 33 Euros is this 10 year old Glen Grant. A litre of the stuff complete with a sticker proclaiming its Jim Murray status in the 2017 Bible. What else is a man to do?
This whisky in the UK is priced around £30 from the Whisky Exchange or other retailers such as Amazon. Bottled at 40% strength it’ll feature artificial colouring and is chill filtered. Time to see if I need to revamp my top 10 year olds list
Glen Grant 10 year old – review
Colour: a very light pine
On the nose: a very delicate presentation. Sweet apples, sugar cubes and overly ripe pears. A touch of grapefruit lifts things up a notch. Marzipan and green olives provide an interesting twist. Lemon sweeties and white chocolate. Water delivers vanilla and a floral note.
In the mouth: even lighter and vapid on the palate. Would certainly benefit from a higher strength. More of the apples and crushed almonds. Fruit sugars and the debate if these casks are 2nd, 3rd fill or worse? This Glen Grant is so timid and inoffensive. Flashes of lemon and shortbread before we resort to water. This unlocks more sweetness and a refreshing vibrancy – a lovely transformation.
Light and engaging as expected. Clearly well made and delivered. A little too light for my liking but as an opening dram to get the palate reved up it has a place. Better than the Glenfiddich 12 although its a close run thing. A simple pleasure to start your whisky engine running. My top 10 list is still intact but this Glen Grant is now on my radar.
There are a couple of commission links within this review if you do fancy revamping your top 10 year old list. Such links never influence our scores.