The Single Cask Whisky Review #46: Glen Grant 1996 20 Years Old

December 25, 2016

The Single Cask Whisky Review #46: Glen Grant 1996 20 Years Old

This week's review focuses on an expression of Glen Grant which was bottled by The Single Cask as a part of their new range of bottlings.

But first, a bit of history.

While the original Glen Grant was founded in 1840, another distillery (which was originally called Glen Grant 2) was founded in 1898 and ran until 1902, when it was mothballed for 63 years before being refurbished and reopened under the name Caperdonich.

The distillery continued production until 2002, when it was mothballed once again and then finally closed for good before being demolished in 2010.

At one point in time, a pipe was constructed which connected Caperdonich to Glen Grant and made for easy transfer of spirit between both distilleries. It is also interesting to note that both distilleries were once owned by Chivas Brothers (and by extension, Pernod Ricard).

Even though Glen Grant was established in 1840 by brothers John and James Grant, it wasn’t until 1872 that the distillery began its upward trajectory and this period coincided with the arrival of John Grant’s nephew, James ‘The Major’ Grant.

The Major was seen to be an innovator, socialiser and traveller of some repute and he wasn’t afraid to put new ideas into practice to test them out. As a result, Glen Grant was the first distillery to have electric light and The Major was the first to own a car in the Highlands.

However, the most significant innovation that The Major put in place at Glen Grant has to do with the stills. He introduced the tall and slender stills and purifiers which in turn created the fresh, malty flavour and clear colour that is the hallmark of Glen Grant whiskies to this very day.

The brand also became a force to be reckoned with in the 1960s when it was widely marketed with a 5 year old age statement by Glen Grant’s Italian distributor, the legendary Armando Giovinetti.

Giovinetti succeeded in selling more than 12000 cases of Glen Grant 5 Years Old to Italy on a consistent basis and was single-handedly responsible for the brand becoming the most popular in the country. In fact, it is not uncommon to find bottles of the 5 Years Old expression at some bars in Italy.

It is believed that the brand’s success and popularity in Italy was one of the main reasons behind Grupo Campari’s purchase of the distillery back in December 2005 and the brand has definitely gone from strength to strength over the last decade under Italian ownership.

The distillery has an annual production capacity of up to 6.2 million litres of pure alcohol, but currently produces for only 34 weeks of the year, racking up an impressive production total of  4.4 million litres of pure alcohol during that time on an annualised average basis.

This week's review focuses on an expression of Glen Grant which was distilled in 1996, matured for 20 years and bottled at 50% abv by The Single Cask for their new range of expressions.

So, let's get to the review!

The Single Cask Glen Grant 1996 20 Years Old (50% abv)

Colour: Gold

Nose: Initially clean, with sweet and chewy malt, black pepper, cinnamon and a light citrusy note. The citrus opens up further after some time to incorporate more fruitiness and some caramelised banana hints emerge. Cinnamon and oak make an appearance later on.

Palate: Slightly sweet on initial entry, with floral hints of lavender and some grass emerging early on. With time, more of the chewy malt, toasted bread and cinnamon emerge and complement the fruity notes of caramelised banana and quince jam. It does become rather oaky towards the end though.

Finish: Relatively long on the finish, with the malt, cinnamon, fruit and barley sugar notes intermingling well along with some oak and black pepper.

Balance: A fairly well-balanced dram which presents a good level of complexity as well as an oily mouthfeel which does get rather oaky and drying towards the end.

This expression of Glen Grant is available for purchase by the dram and bottle for in-bar consumption or by the bottle for retail/takeaway purposes. Please approach our friendly staff and they will be more than happy to assist you.

Written By Brendan Pillai for The Single Cask

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Subscribe Now

Be the first to hear about our whisky tastings and events