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Thursday 24 September 2009

Don't take these for Granted....

Ever had one of those really busy days, where you just make it by the skin of your teeth? Of course you have.

Recently, every day has been like that for Caskstrength- running from HQ for the train, heavily laden valise in hand only to realise you forgot your wallet. Train delayed due to a light track dusting of...dust. I recently shifted over to a more autumnal wardrobe and of course, this week has been blazing sun, so as I waited for the 10.42 to Victoria to finally arrive I could feel my temperature rising into distinctly 'hot and bothered' status.

Then a phonecall comes through - "Mr Ridley, we've sadly lost your really important parcel of documents....not our refunds....probably chucked in a ditch...have a wonderful day"...etc etc. Great.

My mind shifted to 'The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (the classic original version with Leonard Rossiter, not the appalling remake)

Should I jack it all in- snog my attractive secretary and stage my own demise by wandering off into the sea? (tricky, as I pretty much live in Kent)

Then one thing calmed me down. Hang on- i'm actually off to a whisky tasting, which will be great.
The 45 minute delayed journey into Victoria didn't seem as bad then, even as the power died on my phone and some fool accidentally sprayed my newly cleaned white linen blazer with Coca Cola.
The tasting in question was one I had been looking forward to for a while, if my memory serves me, it's a distillery that we haven't really featured very much on Caskstrength; Glen Grant.

As I arrived at the Albannach bar, a beaming figure in the shape of Dennis Malcolm greeted me, resplendent in full Scottish dress, with a table of bottles; Glen Grant (no age statement) 10 Year-Old, 1992 Cellar Reserve and something just a little bit special- A single cask bottling from 1992, to act as a perfect foil to the Reserve.

Dennis gave the assembled guests a great insight into the history of Glen Grant, where we discovered they were the first distillery to fill spirit into Sherry casks and that one of the Grant brothers was a gardening fanatic. (My next Scottish trip will definitely incorporate a visit to the gardens around the distillery, which look superb)

Rather than have pre-poured drams, Dennis encouraged us to pour our own, which, was a totally unexpected treat- not that you end up with larger measures, but the whole process seems a lot more relaxed and less rigid, something I definitely needed after the day so far!

Glen Grant No Age Statement- 40 % - 70cl

Nose: Very fresh and fruity, with a yeasty, barley note on the second nosing. Clearly a young whisky, but not at all overpowering.

Palate: Rich malt, coated with golden syrup and pieces of freshly cut apple /pear. Like a bowl of Shreddies jazzed up with some tasty accompaniment.

Finish: Very light and floral, with more apple notes coming through.

Overall: A great way to start the tasting- nothing overpowering here, just good, clean malty whisky. Very drinkable indeed.

Glen Grant - 10 Year-Old - 40% - 70cl

Nose: Immediate toffee notes, followed by some orange blossom, country fudge and a latte-like milky coffee aroma. Then comes a few light swathes of malt. Decent all round.

Palate: A refreshing and light entry to the palate, with vanilla, a little prickly white pepper and some light menthol notes. Again, the sweet malt comes to the fore, in a similar way to the No Age Statement bottling.

Finish: Apples notes again, with some almond paste/marzipan sweetness.

Overall: Another highly drinkable whisky- uncomplicated and smooth. Worth seeking out.

Glen Grant - 1992 Cellar Reserve- 46% - bottled in 2008 - 46% - NCF - limited release

Nose: Heather honey, light and fragrant floral (honeysuckle) with chopped hazelnuts, some slightly creamy white wine aroma and toffee apple. Sounds like a totally mixed bag, but all very sweet, fruity and floral...

Palate: Light menthol notes, white pepper, more of that white wine and some spiced cinnamon dusted apples.

Finish: Light and fragrant again with the hint of spice enriching the palate as it dries.

Overall: Essentially the big brother of the 10 year old, this has complimentary spicy woody notes (from the addition of sherry butts, we suspect). Another cracking bottling.

Glen Grant - Single Cask Bottling - Aged 17 years - Distilled 12th February 1992 - Bottled 20th May 2009 - Cask no: 17152 - 360 bottles - 58.8%

Nose: An immediate burst of vanilla, golden syrup and honey, mixed with a woody oaky quality. It's a real joy to nose whiskies at caskstrength. With a little water, the previously discovered pear and apple notes start to come through in abundance. Very much within the house style, but so much more.

Palate: Just as beguiling on the tongue as on the nose. Ripe fruits, syrup, marzipan and lemon zest combine with a slightly smoky woody undertone. Thicker mouth-feel than the 1992 reserve but to be expected, given it's at caskstrength.

Finish: Long, fruity and lingering, with a lasting syrupy sweetness.

Overall: Compliments the existing range extremely and a delight to try.