A 21 year old Glen Grant drawn from a refill ex-bourbon hogshead from 1996. Spicy & Sweet profile.
Nose: Quite hot, but packed full of fruits – apricots and plums – both seeming a little bit mulled. Touch of polish, hinting at age are joined by fresh floral – elderflower and cotton sheets. In the background, hints of chocolate and touches of leather. Water – which seems essential here reduced the stingy sensation and adds some fruit salad chews and ginger spicing.
Taste: Punchy and a little standoffish on arrival – a huge wave of lemons and tart grapefruit mingles with strawberries and galia melon. Honey and bees wax provides both texture and additional sweetness. In the mid palate, both shoe polish and intense ginger come out to play. The addition of water is not only necessary, but also brings about a much cleaner and crisper profile – alongside, some minerality – no necessarily coalmine, but certainly steely.
Finish: Long, slightly nutty with hazelnut and a fruit salad which is heavy on citrus. This sours quickly and also brings with it cutting alcohol until tasted reduced.
This Glen Grant is initially rather unapproachable – it’s not that the there’s poor aromas and flavours, but rather that they’re buried behind a wall of intense alcohol. Reduced, this is a far superior experience, with crisp and defined fruitiness. That said, I do wonder what fill this cask was up to (3rd, 4th?) to maintain such a high ABV after 21 years of maturation and likewise to seem so raw and spikey without dilution. Straight out the bottle I find this a touch questionable – reduced is becomes a whole different ball park, and much more enjoyable. I’ve scored to reflect this – you can’t be obtaining the higher points if water is a prerequisite.