By Kurt Maitland
Glen Grant was founded in 1840. James ‘The Major’ Grant, born in 1847, inherited the distilleries in 1872 and is the major figure in the distillery’s history and the namesake that GlenGrant’s NAS Major’s Reserve is named after.
James Grant was the sort of man people like to make up stories about, the kind of lived by his own rules. He was supposedly the first man in Scotland to own a motor car, and while that may or may not have been true, Glen Grant was the first distillery to use electric lighting and introduced the tall, slender still and purifier design that gives the spirit its malty flavor and clear character.
Since the Major’s day, the distillery has been part of several different distillery companies. In 1972, The Glenlivet and Glen Grant Distilleries Ltd joined with the blending concerns of Hill, Thomson and Co. Ltd. and Longmorn Distilleries Ltd to become The Glenlivet Distillers Ltd. This company was acquired by the bygone giant Seagrams in 1977, and then passed to Pernod Ricard in 2000. Glen Grant was chiseled off and sold to Campari in 2006 Campari, its only Scotch Whisky at present.
Campari’s interest in Glen Grant is no doubt rooted in how the brand is not just one of the world’s best-selling single malt, but also the market leader in its home turf of Italy. Glen Grant is also a major contributor to Chivas Regal, this despite not being in the same stable anymore.
Color: Pale Gold
Nose: Semi baked apples, pear and green grape with a whiff of cereal
Taste: Fruity, with a mouthfeel that is light, smooth and even. I taste apples and a bit of berry with a malty cereal note. At 40% ABV, this is easy to drink and very well-balanced. It’s not perfect, as its core taste disappears pretty quickly, and I’d be curious to taste it at a higher proof. Yet it is a decent starter for a new whisky explorer. In fact, it is similar in some respects to the Glenmorangie 10.
Water is this expression’s friend. It cuts through the sweetness a bit and accentuates the cereal/malt flavors of the release but you will need to be careful. Too much water and you’ll bring on the bitterness I mention above
Finish: A little malty and white peppery at the end that can turn a little bitter.
This is a sugary sweet expression. It’s probably as sweet as I can take in a whiskey. Not what you’d want in a high end scotch but considering the price point, this is a great starter for a newcomer to whisky.
Here is what gives this release a leg up. It’s the same price as the Glenmorangie 10 (roughly $34 to $38) and can be had for less if you search a bit. It is a solid starter whisky and if you wanted a good scotch to work on your cocktail experiment with, you could do far worse.