Grant’s Family Reserve

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Grant of Glenfiddich

William Grant began working as a bookkeeper for a whisky company in 1886. Later, aided by his seven sons and two daughters, he built Glenfiddich distillery in Dufftown and began making malt whisky. When the cataclysmic events of the Pattison Crash of 1899 brought the industry to its knees, Grant saw an opportunity and launched his own blend to fill the hole left behind by the collapse of Pattison’s whisky.

Grant was a wily businessman and, perhaps seeing change on the horizon, put a particular emphasis on aging his spirit. When the law changed in 1915 to state that all whisky must be matured for a minimum of two years Grant’s stocks were well ahead of his competitors and by the time he passed away in 1923 the family business was a well established success story.

Today, Grant’s is the oldest family-owned blended Scotch whisky. Current CEO Peter Gordon, is the fifth generation of the family to lead the business and the brand is sold in over 180 countries making it the third largest Scotch brand in the world.

Grant’s and indeed Glenfiddich, are bottled in a distinctive bottle that was first designed in 1957 by Hans Schleger who came to Britain as a refugee from Nazi Germany. Hans was tasked with creating a unique design that would stand out from the competition as well as being easy to stack and ship. Thus the famous triangular bottle was born.

The Whisky

The core Grant’s range comprises of Family Reserve, Ale Cask Finish, Sherry Cask Finish, Grant’s Signature and Grant’s 25 Year Old.

Smell: Vanilla, Orange and Lemon, Cereal and Fudge and just a touch of Sherry. Surprisingly complex for such an affordable blend.

Taste: Caramel, Apple, Cream, Cinnamon, a little bit of Sherry and a wee touch of Peat. For a blended scotch bottled at 40% abv there is surprisingly good weight to it.

Thoughts: It’s pretty basic stuff but isn’t without flavour. At £15 a bottle we’re right in everyday blend territory. This is the kind of salt of the earth Scotch that’s drank in bars all over Scotland. Topped up with soda, with lemonade, poured over ice, split 50/50 with water and consumed in countless other ways.

Having never tried Grant’s before I approached this dram cautiously. I half expected a flashback to the shots of cheap whisky I knocked back in my ’20s. I have to say, I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. It isn’t trying to be the most complex dram in the world, it’s simply trying to give a decent mouthful of flavour for as little money as possible. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Will I be swapping my bottle of Lagavulin for Grant’s? No, of course not but should I find myself in need of a dram in a pub with limited selection, I know I can find the good in a wee drop of Grant’s. No whisky drinker should be above enjoying the simple things from time to time.

*If the whisky reviewed in this article has caught your eye, you can buy it from Master of Malt here. Please be aware that as an affiliate I can be paid a small commission on any purchases you make after following links from my page. The whisky is also available from several other excellent retailers. 

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