Category Archives: Glen Grant

Memory Lane

This is a lament for the passing of bars and a plea to those listening to run out and open new ones.  Fine.  It is about one bar in particular and I know you are reading and not listening… but I was writing in speech format, so work with me.  Or stop reading, drink a bit more, and come back to this article with a less pedantic attitude.  Back in the age of dinosaurs (actually it was only about six-or-so years ago) I was wandering through the lower-level of a Japanese department store (often a sprawling bazar of booths, glass cases and smartly uniformed employees plying everything from avatars of fruit to all manner of savory treat and more than a few selections of competition grade deserts) in Osaka and I stumbled upon a purveyor of liquor.  And that is not unusual.  This particular spot boasted, upon initial investigation, a decent selection of Scotch whiskies.  A little less common, but still not anything to write home about.  And then I noticed a bar positioned more or less in the middle of the sprawl of tables and bottles that gave way to other liquor stores, food sellers, and the components of the previously mentioned bazar.

This bar was an island.  An old-era counter top of little more than six feet, a single bartender in the black-and-whites (vest and bow-tie included), and a small but splendidly stocked wall of Scotch.  This standing bar (tachinomi) even had a small barrel of whisky on the brief but well-varnished expanse of wood (I later learned that one could fill a varying grade of classy little bottles, the shape and size of which I would associate more with an apothecary, from the barrel for take-home purposes).   I was entranced.  I approached, acknowledged the bartender, and I perused the menu.  I than spent a fair portion of the next three days on regular pilgrimages to the miniature mecca of whisky.  Seriously.  My schedule only really allowed me free time in the mornings, so that was where I spent them.

After eyeing the menu I realized that there was work to be done and not much time to do it in.  Notes from the back of one extant receipt: Glen Ord 12 – Caol Ila 12, 23, cask – Glenmorangie Burgundy, Hermitage – Glen Grant 1980 – Glenlivet 32 – Linkwood 26 – Bruichladdich 17 – Lagavulin 25 – Banff 1977 – Blair Athol 27 – Glen Albyn – Glenburgie – and, as the commercials say, many more…  There were repeats, there were items that didn’t make it onto the list, there were even a few on-the-fly vatted creations, and then there were some real pleasant lunches at nearby establishments.  Curiously, an appreciation for Glen Ord, and a few bottles of their 12-year, stayed with me long after the bar vanished (okay, maybe only the appreciation stayed with me long after).  But the bar did vanish.

One season, a few years later, I spent an eager train ride and a rushed walk through rushing crowds only to find the little outpost of majesty replaced by mundane shelves of liquor.  And that sucked.  And now more years and even more whisky have flowed under the bridge… and it still bums me out.  I always have my eyes out for these gems, often hidden away but occasionally found in the middle of a department store, awash in florescent light but not worse for it.

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Filed under Bar Reviews, Caol Ila, Glen Grant, Imbibed Musings, Linkwood

Signatory Vintage 12 Year Old Glen Grant

Glen Grant

All of the Glen Grants I have tasted have generally been well rounded, light and crisp – except for a 37 Year Old Duncan Taylor bottling that I still dream about. This particular Glen Grant falls in line with the majority.


12 Year, Distilled 1997, Bottled 2009
Cask No. 3884 Hogshead
Bottled at 43%ABV

Color: Light Amber

Nose: Malty candied sweetness, white grapes, a fresh apple tart, ripe pears.

Palate: Very representative of the nose – almost the same thing, additionally some vanilla, oak dryness and white pepper.

Finish: medium, white pepper spice.

Comments: I like! This is a well rounded malt, fresh and vibrant. It isn’t going to blow your mind and leave a lasting impression but it is a great relaxing dram to enjoy on a warm day.

We also posted some notes on the OB 10 Year Old bottling here.

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Filed under Glen Grant, Whisky Impressions

Take 2 of That Glen Grant OB Review

I was under the impression that this Glen Grant was going to be a classy rest-spot between two flavor-wise heavy hitters in the line-up.  Thanks to Glen Grant being held out as one of the modern-day elder statesmen of whisky I expected a solid but unsurprising refuge.  The flavors were a treat from beginning to end and what I expected to rely upon as a respectable place-holder turned out to be a tasty and complete whisky that easily stood up to other more fiery or peaty contenders.

Color – Lightest yellow

Nose – Cake, frosting included, banana, and gum

Palate – Lush yet delicate grain, tempered sugar and malt, hint of medicine, slightly watery mouthfeel, dangerously flavorful and subtle throughout.

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Filed under Glen Grant, Tastings

Glen Grant 10 OB Review Take 1

I think of Glen Grant as whisky’s classic old guard.  The Fenway Park or Augusta National of whisky you might say.  I am not sure why I think this, but for some reason I do.  Currently the behemoth Italian company Gruppo Campari owns the Glen Grant distillery.  In the past I have had some of the Gordon & MacPhail realeases, but never an OB release so I wanted to give it a try.

I was a little wary of purchasing this bottle for our tasting event as it was amongst some heavy hitters.  I was afraid that it was going to get lost in

Glen Grant 10

the mix or plain just blown out of the water.  There were 2 cask strength bottles (Auchentoshan and A’Bunadh) as well as a Port Ellen in the mix that same night.  The thinking was to use the Glen Grant as a sort of palate cleaner after the two cask strength bottles and before the Port Ellen.  My fears were somewhat put to rest by the friendly staff at the Whisky Shop on Sutter Street in San Francisco.  Dara felt that the Glen Grant would be able to stand on its own two feet amongst the other bottles.  So I went for it…and I was definitely not disappointed.

Glen Grant 10 OB, Speyside, bottled at 40%ABV

Color – Yellow, light straw

Nose – Banana runts (if you remember that candy), malt background, apples

Palate – Smooth, cereal, hints of apple pie, a little difficult to get through, makes you work for it, sweet.

Finish – fast and clean.

This is definitely an easy drinker, but still has enough character to make it interesting.  It is a great value at ~$45/bottle.  I am looking forward to trying the 16 year old OB next.

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