ABV: 60.6% Distillery: Glen Grant Bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Region: Speyside
A 21 year old Glen Grant that’s somehow managed to maintain a fairly whopping ABV despite being filled into a refill ex-bourbon hogshead back in April of 1996. Sweet, Fruity & Mellow profile.
Nose: Elegance and quality are immediately obvious here – honey, mangoes and papayas are joined by leather armchairs, old bound books and golden tobacco. Overripe oranges give an almost liqueur-like quality to this whisky - Grand Marnier or Cointreau over ice. Deeper, there are aromas of summer grass – dried reed and flax, as well as of sugar coated cereals – Kellogg’s Frosties. Water adds a fizzy, almost champagne-like quality into the equation, as well as both buttery biscuits and freshly made toast.
Taste: Rich and mouth coating. This delivers milk chocolate, and a host of reduced fruits (particularly raspberries) – stewed, jammed and preserved. There’s some underlying earthiness in the form of damp soils and wet walls, which mingle very nicely with well-judged pepper spicing. The addition of water adds juiciness to the fruits, and emphasises the oranges that were detected on the nose. Overall, balance is improved through dilution, which is not surprising given the 60.1% ABV this commences with.
Finish: The shorter side of medium length and with a combination of raspberries and pepper that fades very nicely.
Whilst I’m fairly sure that the ex-bourbon hogshead that this Glen Grant was filled into was fairly inactive (21 years and still 60.6%?), in this instance, it has worked a bit of a wonder. The spirit has relaxed and mellowed and taken on some exceedingly elegant notes, whilst the cask influence itself is (unsurprisingly) restrained so is only along as a supporting act. This benefited from some water and only scored lower because of the finish, which, despite having a lovely fade to it, was not as long as one would hope for of a whisky of this age. Nevertheless, my joint top pick of this month’s outturn and well-priced at £95.
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