Dram Review: Cadenhead’s Authentic Collection Glen Grant-Glenlivet Aged 13 Years

[55.1%・13 Years Old・Distilled in 1980・Bottled in 1993・Cadenhead’s Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Quite untamed but malty, sharp and piercing before a rather rich toffee note develops, slightly metallic with notes of green mangos and caramelised candied peanuts.

Palate & Finish:

Condensed barbecued pineapple caramelisation, honey churned with citrus pineapple chutney, lychees on the mid palate.

A white tea dryness in the finish with hints of white peaches and zesty mandarin jelly.

Thoughts:

A colourful citrus number, not without faults though with its struggle to attain balance within to age and strength perimeters..

✓ [Recommended if you like the distillery/style]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Glen Grant-Glenlivet 9 Years Old (Bottled by J. & A. Mitchell & Co. Ltd for Samaroli Import)

[45.7%・9 Years Old・Distilled in 1969・Bottled in 1979・Bottled by J. & A. Mitchell & Co. Ltd for Samaroli Import・Limited Release of 360 Bottles]

Nose:

Strikingly fruity but also there is a remarkable presence at this strength, sweet cream brushed over corn bread, complimented by vanilla beans and wild hay. The soft white fruits subtly unfold into ripe guavas and mangoes.

Palate & Finish:

Mellow suggestions of tropical essence channeled through silky honey. Soft buttery mouthfeel bringing out traces and waves of toasted pineapples, albeit in a mildly dry manner.

Honeyed granola dressed with crystallised sugar from dried white grapes, influences of mint leaves, lemon grass, ginger and traces of minerals elongate the finish.

Thoughts:

The make up of this Glen Grant is supposedly very straightforward, an era-specific young Speyside whisky, but what it ends up conveying is a coherent sense of simple pleasure.

Now that I have had the experience of going through various cask samples and selecting a couple of casks I know just how difficult it is to see past the initial impressions and curate something authentic and timeless.

It takes foresight to understand and take advantage of the nuances of a young whisky from a distillery perhaps not too known for dramatic characters.

This is supposedly one of Mr. Samaroli’s earliest releases and initial attempts are never meant to be this outstanding, not with tailoring and certainly not with making whiskies.

This type of pure talent perhaps shows up once in a couple generations.

I am a fan.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Glen Grant 1948 (Cask No. 2154)

[48.6%・70 Years Old・Distilled in 1948・Bottled in 2018・Gordon & MacPhail Bottling・Cask No. 2154・Single Cask Release of 210 Bottles]

Nose:

It is remarkable how lively the dram still is!  Honey is laid down in a stately and elegant manner, the floral notes mingle with some Italian herbs as the creaminess from the oak melts into a certain vegetative note and what results is an instant gratification.  To further the enjoyment there are notes of essence oil from lightly squeezed lemon peels, of tree gum, of ginger powder and of passion fruit syrup.  In time the malt and minerals fill the base, faint hints of tobacco and powdery wood incense swirl with traces of a vanilla and candied orange cake that is moist, syrupy and buttery and paired with poached pears and marzipan.

Palate & Finish:

Condensed and jammy, the dram delivers a fruit extravaganza, oranges, pears, lychees and wee pineapples.  The well aged leathery creaminess coats the taste buds as the dryness of the oak slowly presses down, lighter notes of leather and tobacco flirt with more exciting notes of cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, licorice and marzipan.

The mesmerizing dryness from the antique charred oak staves extends and elongates in the finish, mellow and peaceful with just a suggestion of smoke.

Thoughts:

I don’t think I could quite do justice to how absolutely magical the nose is.

The age does show on the palate but the whisky manages generations of wood influence well, in part because the Sherry component is surprisingly not overtly assertive.

I do wonder what the cask would be like had it been bottled two decades earlier, my guess is that this cask was always going to be special, it would make for an exceptional whisky whether it was bottled as a 40 year old or as a 70 year old.

In any case though I am glad it was forgotten about in the massive warehouse of Gordon and MacPhail, resulting in probably an once in a life time opportunity..

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

Thank you Gordon & MacPhail for the sample, it’s much appreciated.

Photo credit: Gordon & MacPhail

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Signatory Vintage Glen Grant Vintage 1964

[46.0%・25 Years Old・Distilled in 1964・Bottled in 1990・Signatory Vintage Bottling・Cask No. 107, 17, 18, 19・Limited Release of 1,300 Bottles]

Nose:

Creamed red tea filling the nose, really just rather sensationally Sherried, a generous handful of dark berries giving a fragrant presence with molasses pouring over the top. In time, the oak arrives, polished mahogany and cedar wood shoe trees followed by a layer of café au lait.

Palate & Finish:

Condensed sweetness with late harvest syrupy grapes seasoned with cinnamon as a brush of dryness trails before the dark berries and Maraschino cherries burst to lift the acidity. The soft creamy body carries a natural presence of fine tannins, nothing too bitter as it’s rounded out by the sweetness.

Forest berries dressed with a balsamic reduction, dried orange slices and drying tannins elongating the tail..

Thoughts:

Gloriously Sherried, I imagine the whisky was casually forgotten about in some properly wet casks for 25 years. Just another borderline-two-star quality Sherried Glen Grant from the 1960s that is probably under-appreciated in the 1990s, people are spoiled back then..

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Gordon & Macphail Book of Kells Glen Grant 50 Years Old Exclusively Bottled for The Whisky Exchange

Style: Sherry, Complex and Venerable

Nose:

Delicate red dates, dark cherries and cranberries deeply engrained into waxy, walnut oak. Leather followed by apeppermint surge, black peppercorns gently sprinkled on golden malt. Whiteflower gently latched on thoroughly stewed tropical fruits. The aroma isslightly on the spicy side, but overall it is wonderfully integrated.

Palate:

Baked assorted red fruits condense and amalgamate to a silky, perfect form. Such a magnificent entrance… Then we have a waxy layer of archaic signatures – Walnut oak cabinet, timber and old armchairs leading to more tropical fruits. Dark cherries riding on herbal spice, golden malt brimming delightfully. A charming peck of old school peat smoke, damn, this is beautiful. Floral rims, black currants converge and gently filter down to the end.

Finish:

Purple grapes and bubble gum rounded off with vintage coal fire peat. Long and satisfying.

Thoughts:

What a dram. The maturation and integration of this Glen Grant has reached to a height that most are incapable of. Maybe the nose is a bit tight, but the rest is impeccable – Especially the subtle, vintage Speyside peat really highlights the complexity of the malt. While in recent times old/ultra-aged whiskies have been glorified and slapped on super premium price tags, some of the ones I have tried, unfortunately, the oak component got out of hand and disrupted the balance – Too tannic, acidic, bitter – overwhelmed. It is not easy to find a distillate/cask to stand against the tides of time, very few can actually make it, I am just glad that this Glen Grant 50 years old is not bottled for the sake of its age.

☆☆☆ [Most Recommended]

[49.4% | Independent Bottling | Single Cask | Cask Strength | Cask Number: 3720 |Matured in a Refill Sherry Hogshead | Non Chill Filtered | Non Coloured | Tasted on 19/12/2018 | Opened on 21/09/2018 | ***]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Cadenhead Pure Malt Scotch Whisky from Glen Grant-Glenlivet Distillery

[46.0%・16 Years Old・Distilled in 1972・Bottled in 1988・Cadenhead Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Somewhat on the mild side, hay straws, honey and soft fruits.

Palate & Finish:

Wonderfully juicy with the elegant dose of Sherry cask inspired raisins blossoming and flirting with some light hints of white peaches and lychees.

The fruity nectar playfully dances on, with the oak lightly brushing against it.

Thoughts:

A true gracefulness conveyed in this Glen Grant, however it is on the thin side and it does fade in the glass quite swiftly.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Cadenhead Single Cask Glen Grant – Glenlivet 1984 Aged 31 Years

Style: Sherry and Malty

Nose:
Brown sugar casually sprinkled down on coffee jelly. A rather “deep” vibe here. Plenty of black currants floating to the top, while peppermint haze shrouds around a hearty malt. Pencil shavings, caramel sauce with a teasing acidic note. Black peppercorns and dry spices at the back. A rather delicate aroma.

Palate:
Cranberries, goji berries and more coffee jelly beaming positively on the palate. All the sweetness latches neatly on a solid, herbal layer. Grassy notes riding on a spicy surge. Dry leaves and wood shavings rounded off with warm malty brushes.

Finish:
Assorted summer berries, soothing red fruits with a nice dose of Manuka honey lingering till the end. Delicious.

Thoughts:
Not often you come across a 30 years old Glen Grant these days, so I am not sure what to expect. We have deep-toned sherry crust which spends all these years successfully adhere to the malty-herbal core. Sweet dark fruits, more-ish and soothing at a pleasant strength, not bad at all! Close to 2 stars.

[Recommended]

[46.1% / Independent Bottling / 1984 Distilled / 2016 Bottled / Single Cask / Cask Strength / Aged 31 Years / 414 Bottles]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Adelphi Limited Glen Grant 31 Years Old (Cask No. 1036)

[55.4%・31 Years Old・Distilled in 1970・Bottled in 2001・Adelphi Bottling・Cask No. 1036・Single Cask Release of 485 Bottles]

Nose:

Quite substantially weighted with the dark chocolate presence, the Sherry is very dense but at the same time it’s not as expressive as one would hope, regardless it’s still full of cooked figs and boiled lollies.  In time the dram seems to open up to smoked tea and tannins, with toffee treacle smoothly running underneath as the creaminess continues to unfold, surprisingly rather herbal.

Palate & Finish:

Even more confectionery than the more contemporary Adelphi releases, raisins, toffee and coffee ground oozing out with a rather abrupt explosion of spices clashing with the dried fruits and ginger.  Understandably a tad on the herbal and tannic side but also faring quite dry indeed.  The late-palate opens up to the prunes with a floral revelation.

Long finish, coffee beans and licorice with the tannins leading the bitter chocolate.

Thoughts:

For those who see the colour of this dram and think “correct colour”, this is probably the dram for you.  A very heavily Sherried experience, not specifically of Glen Grant.

Just a tad on the tannic side perhaps.. but if you are very particular about it then the entire genre may not be for you..

✓ [Recommended if you like the style/ distillery]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Adelphi Limited Glen Grant 1988 29 Years Old

Style: Sweet and Malty

Nose:

Cereal gently squeezing out dense, honey malt syrup on the nose. Fresh green grass overtone, sweet ester fruits powdered by icing sugar. The aroma feels a bit “Adelphi-esque”, maybe it’s the way they pick their casks, but I am not sure how to phrase it… Herbal liquor, touches of peppermint stem. Orange and grapefruit candies slowly pushing through. Getting sweeter and juicier as it opens up. Nice.

Palate:

Abundant malt syrup overflows, coating the entire palate. Then we have sweet orchard fruits and red apple skins. Cereal notes with a touch of vanilla essence. Confectionaries waltz in, while the spiciness from spearmint and ginger shreds are glowing gently. A quick reflux of ester fruits towards the end, oak combines with cornflakes to finish.

Finish:

Pineapple tart, malt cake sprinkled with more honey cornflakes.

Thoughts:

Deliciously malty. I feel this is a rather distillate-driven Glen Grant, it feels the cask or time do not have much impact on the spirit, even being matured for 29 years . The lesser fruitiness has been absorbed and integrated into the resolute malty core. Imagine how good this can be if we have a powerful Sherry Butt to match the spirit. But hey, as long as it’s tasty. Enjoyable dram.

☆ [Recommended]

[52.2% • Independent Bottling • 2017 Bottled • 1988 Distilled • Single Cask • Cask Strength • Non Coloured • Non Chill Filtered • Cask Number 9174 • 1 of 465 Bottles • *]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant 1954

[40%・Distilled in 1954・59 Years Old・Bottled in 2014・Gordon & MacPhail Bottling・Single Cask Bottling・Cask No: 1822]

Nose:

It starts with the mellow aromas of a mahogany desk that has received a fine polishing treatment.  The dark fruits in the background are rich and alluring yet the tone remains bright with the rose petal flavoured cotton candy .  A leathery presence that evokes excitement akin to unboxing your newly arrived Edward Green Oxfords made from Delapré leather tanned in Alsace, it’s the oiliness of the leather that marks the difference.  Further along there is the candle wax note with dried prunes giving the acidity and the ripe mango slices easing in the sweetness.  Dark cocoa on the backend as the oak settles back in, merging with the vibrant sherry note in the form of fresh red apples.  Roasted almonds and coconut flakes that were lightly toasted bring on the caramelisation.  Slight sprinkle of pepper and muted dried spices juxtapose the luscious black cherry note in the background.  Stupendously complex and far exceeding the great expectation, it’s so suggestive yet it is presented in such a elegant manner, a perfect nose.

Palate & Finish:

A satisfying viscosity that coats the tastebuds with delicious fruitiness, carrying citrus  raisin characters that tilt marginally towards acidity as opposed to the sweeter spectrum.  It then displays unmistakable traits from a half-century-long maturation with the spices in place that noticeably must have grown gentler over the years.  The woodiness becomes more and more prominent with the oven-baked raisins lacing the tannins through out, yet it retains the essences from the plump red fruits.

The finishing carries traces of minerals, a restrained follow through that is elongated with just traces of tobacco and menthol to go with the minuscule presence of plums and prunes, with a hint of earthiness and coffee beans roasted with treacle.

Thoughts:

This is certainly up there with some of the best “old” whiskies I have had, certainly in a class of their own.  A classic that has spend decades refining itself in a first filled sherry puncheon.  This is a whisky distilled from around the same period as when Rolex applied star hour marks on their dials.. the fascinating bygone era which simply cannot be replicated, even if there are the means to do so I am not so sure there is such intention…  It’s only through time capsules like this may we experience such precious histories that are bound to be forgotten soon.  Thank you Gordon & MacPhail for this experience.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

Nicholas