ABV: 52.3% Distillery: Glen Grant Bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Region: Speyside
Distilled back in 1995, this Glen Grant was matured for 21 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead before being re-racked into a virgin oak hogshead with a heavy toast and medium char. Sweet, Fruity & Mellow profile.
Nose: Exceedingly appealing – spiced toffee apples, glace cherries, red berries and rolled pastry. There’s lovely nuttiness from cashews as well as a smattering of freshly strewn wood chippings. The addition of water adds berry fruitiness as well as further toffee and caramel – it does however diminish some of the brightness of the elements. Straight-forward, but certainly alluring.
Taste: After an exceedingly good nose, I’m sad to report that the palate is a complete slave to virgin oak. An exceedingly wood-forward arrival which brings juicy vanilla, but also a ton of fresh tree sap, planking and chips. Behind this are red berries and softened plums, but make no mistake, this is all about the wood. Water offers much improvement, diminishing cask influence, pronouncing raspberries and cranberries as well adding in pleasant drizzled honey.
Finish: Long, woody, fairly tannic and very drying.
Honestly, this Glen Grant is a bit of a travesty – compounded by the promise of the rather splendid nose. I’m always wary of virgin oak finishes – they’re rarely my thing – and this is a prime example of why. The oak has run riot here, beating the more delicate top notes and flavours almost to a pulp. As such, whilst this is 22 years of age, the palate, with its heavy-handed finish doesn’t allow either the spirit character or the maturity of the liquid to shine. All about the wood, about the wood, no treble.
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