By Adam Irvine
The last time a Glen Grant official bottling passed my lips was the 10 year old, and it was combined with one of the most surreal experiences I’ve had in my whisky drinking career; walking through the distillery’s still house and bottling plant, surrounded by ladies in dresses and heels and men in kilts and tartan trews (trousers). It was the opening diner for the Spirit of Speyside Festival in 2015 and the 10 was a major contributor to proceedings. This included fueling Charlie MacLean in his after dinner speech which focused on the glory of the Scottish dialect and specifically the significant number of words to describe drunkenness. My favorite (then and now) was “scunnered.”
That night there was a lot of razzmatazz from the Head of Marketing for Gruppo Campari, who own the brand, about their plans for the distillery, so no surprise to see that the packaging has had a makeover, along with the launch of three new expressions, a 12 Year Old, 12 Year Old Non Chill-Filtered (travel retail only) and an 18 Year Old. There seems to be no slowdown in the demand for design consultants to have a crack at overhauling current whisky brands and launch them back into the frenzied bull market of whisky consumption.
The new bottle shape is a minor twist on a standard whisky bottle with raised glass at the front to frame the product information. There is a new logo at the top of the bottle, the Grant family monogram, with the letters ‘J’ ‘R’ and ‘G’. ‘J’ for Major James Grant and ‘R’ for his first wife Rose. If you don’t know what the ‘G’ represents the clue is in the title.
The nose is lively and inviting and first thought is simply “yum, yum.” Golden syrup drizzled over candied orange peel. Getting a barley sugar and crème caramel hit. Now floral notes developing, some sweet pea, moving to birch wood sap and back to some fruit, tangerine and figs.
The palate, alas, doesn’t carry the same fanciful nature as the nose. More cereal notes appear, sugar puffs through to cheese biscuits but without the cheese! Finish develops some sharpness and then gives way to a soft finish.
The official price for Glen Grant 12 Year Old is £37.