By Richard Thomas
Despite the elevated name, Grant’s Family Reserve Blended Whiskey is the entry level scotch for William Grant and Sons, the same people who make Glenfiddich and Balvenie. The triangular bottle is a familiar sight on liquor store and supermarket shelves in Europe, and is not entirely unfamiliar to Americans and Canadians as well. From what I’ve heard, Trader Joe’s carries the stuff at a steep discount. Grant’s is the world’s fourth-largest scotch whiskey label in the world, and it is hard to find a country where it is not sold.
Grant’s is a blend of about two dozen different scotches, which sounds like a lot until you realize that some blends out there mix a blend from several dozen different scotches. The core of the blend, however, is Girvan grain whiskey. Grant’s is bottled at 40% alcohol, and has a golden coloring. This version of Grant’s is the one with the red label on the signature triangular bottle, and it comes topped by metal screw-cap.
The scent of Grant’s is clear and breathes of pears and apples. The flavor is light and floral with some honey sweetness, just a hint of vanilla and some mild smokiness. That peat smoke remains in the background for the finish, which is as mild and sweet as it was on the palate.
This is a good starter scotch. It is a cut above scotch whiskeys like J&B, and just sophisticated enough that a novice can learn something from the drink without being overwhelmed. It is also mild and consistent, two virtues that make Grant’s approachable.
Grant’s Family Reserve is available in the United States for around $18 per 1-liter bottle, and sometimes for even less at Trader Joe’s. The scotch is available in Europe on supermarket shelves for about 10 or 11 euros a bottle. In either part of the world, Grant’s is a real bargain.
Grant’s is actually a fairly well-decorated scotch whiskey, especially for one in its category. It had a very good year in 2009, where Grant’s Family Reserve won Gold at the International Wine and Spirit Competition and Silver at the International Spirits Challenge.