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Glen Grant distillery was founded in 1840 by brothers John and James Grant. John, it seems, had something of a history where illicit distilling was concerned but James was a reputable and upstanding member of the community. An engineer by trade, he would later become the Lord Provost of Elgin.
James was also a man of great vision who predicted severe difficulties for the industry should transport links to the south not be improved. Using his political standing, he led a campaign to encourage the installation of a railway link between Lossiemouth and Elgin and then paid out of his own pocket to extend the line further to his distillery in Rothes.
When the founding brothers passed away, the distillery was taken over by John’s son, John ‘The Major’ Grant. A young man of 25, Grant was a well-travelled lover of hunting, equally at home on the plains of Africa as he was in the glens of Scotland. An inventor of sorts, Grant was excited by new technologies and became the first in the country to install electric lighting at his distillery. He even designed a new still house, complete with tall, slender pot stills with a unique design still in use today.
Glen Grant remained under the ownership of the founder’s descendants until 1978, when it’s acquisition by Seagrams of Canada removed any connection to the two brothers who first applied for a distilling license some 138 years before.
Further change arrived in 2006 when Italian company Gruppo Campari chose to snap up the distillery, emboldened no doubt, by the brands position as the biggest selling whisky in Italy. Bringing continuity throughout the changes however, was Master Distiller Dennis Malcolm, born at the distillery in 1946 and on the payroll since 1964.
The Glen Grant 10 year old is bottled at 40% alcohol by volume, and retails in the UK at around £30 a bottle.
Smell: Fresh Fruits – Apple, Pear, Lemon with Creamy Vanilla, Toffee and Honey.
Taste: A little delicate on the palate with notes of Caramel, Honey and Orange with light Oaky Spice and a Malty finish.
Value for Money: A decent dram at a reasonable price. Lacked the weight to really blow me away but it is not without it’s subtle complexities.
Due to its popularity in Italy, Glen Grant is relatively rare in its homeland but it retains a sensible pricing structure and offers decent bang for buck. It’s not a dram of bold flavour. Instead, it is a decent example of a rather sophisticated Speyside.