Whisky Advocate

Update on Glen Grant Scotch whisky, including the debut of the 16 yr. old

January 25th, 2010

Today I lunched with Dennis Malcolm, Distillery Manager for Glen Grant, and a man who has been in the whisky industry for nearly 50 years. After a long absence, “Distillery Bottled” Glen Grant is returning to the U.S. (It has only been available through independent bottlers, like Gordon & MacPhail.)

According to Dennis, today is the world debut of the new Glen Grant 16 yr. old. It’s debuting here in the U.S., along with the Glen Grant 10 yr. old. (The 16 yr. old will be rolling out into other world markets soon.)

The 16 yr. old is the oldest regular Glen Grant on the market. (There have been, and will occasionally be, older  limited-edition offerings.) In Europe, the 10 yr, old is already in distribution, along with a “Major’s Reserve” (approximately 7 years old).  And Dennis mentioned that they sometimes release special single cask, cask-strength whiskies at the distillery gift shop.

The 10 yr. old ($45) and 16 yr. old ($80) Glen Grants are now getting into circulation in seven markets here in the U.S.: New York, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Florida, Massachusetts, and Texas. The brand will then roll out to the rest of the U.S. in 2011.

Historically, Glen Grant was a malt that went into blended scotch. It was initially launched as a single malt in the Italian market. Campari purchased the brand in 2006, with the desire to penetrate into new markets with it. According to Dennis, the whisky is also already quite popular in Sweden and France.

Dennis told me that 50% of production is now being bottled as a single malt, with the remaining going into blended scotch. (It’s still a major component of the Chivas blend.)

Interestingly, according to Dennis, over a century ago, there was actually a “Glen Grant #2” distillery, similar to the way there were two Clynelish distilleries. It shut down after a few years, but a distillery reopened on that same site back in 1965: Caperdonich, which then closed in 2003.

Some other interesting tidbits: The oldest cask in the distillery’s warehouse is from 1972. And while exploring cask samples, he stumbled on a cask of Glen Grant that previously contained an Islay whisky. That, I would be interested in tasting!

And what of the whisky? I received review samples a few weeks ago (just haven’t gotten my reviews up on the blog here yet), and we tasted both the 10 and 16 yr. old again today. The 10 is a very light, fresh, easy-drinking dram–a great way to ease into the single malt category. The 16 shows more depth and richness (along with more sherry). I’ll post up my formal reviews of both soon.

20 Responses to “Update on Glen Grant Scotch whisky, including the debut of the 16 yr. old”

  1. JWC says:

    the seven markets they list appear to be the seven major “money” markets – makes sense. based on your initial impressions, i’ll be on the lookout here in texas and depending on the price, may try one or both.

  2. Jon W says:

    This is exciting. I had my first Glen Grant a couple of months ago, a 27 year old Old Malt Cask. Good stuff.

  3. Cool stuff. I have a 21 yr. old from Gordan & MacPhail & loved that one, so I would really be interested to see what their flagship stuff tastes like. Thanks for the info.

  4. As usual, really disappointing to see where it’s going this year. The Realtors say: “Location, location, location.” In this business, I must respond: “Patience, patience, patience.”

    • JWC says:

      two-bit cowboy, if i remember your posts on another site correctly, you are in a great, enviable location but there are some tradeoffs for living in heaven, yes?

      • Oh, JWC, tis a terrible place. Six below zero this morning. Had to plow snow out of both driveways by hand when it finally warmed up to 10 above. Wind blows all the time. Dirt roads. Dusty. The danged moose chases me when I’m not paying attention. The bunnies eat the new pine trees for lack of other sustenance. 30 miles to the grocery store over oft-closed roads. Have to hand split six or more cords of firewood every year. And I wouldn’t trade it for anywhere else in the world. Yip, you’re right. Heaven it is, so I guess I’ll wait another year for Glen Grant. Thanks for the reality check.

        • JWC says:

          tbc, i’ve seen the pics (including the moose) and i’ll trade you traffic jams, humidity, the worst or second to worst (depending on the day) air quality in the usa, mosquitos almost year round, hurricane season BUT no wait for your situation ANY DAY.

          • JWC – Boy, you drive a hard bargain. Last time I was in your neck of the woods it was two days before Christmas five years ago. 65 degrees. Light breeze. Bumper to bumper for about 12 miles. You know, I think I’ll have to pass on your offer. The last traffic jam we had here was during round-up in October: about 750 angus held folks up for nearly an hour.

          • Texas says:

            Aw c’mon guys traffic isn’t that bad on a regular basis Dallas is worse.. 25 miles from the Gulf Coast. great museums and a theater district, three big league sports teams (four if you count soccer), you can play golf or bbq 11-12 months of the year…friendly people as well

          • JWC — the best of both worlds: I found out today that I can order the Glen Grant now.

  5. [...] Hansell also has news of the Glen Grant 16, which is soon to debut in the [...]

  6. MrTH says:

    If I recall correctly, Glen Grant was Michael Jackson’s first malt. That alone makes it worth having a bottle to toast the man on his birthday, which is March 27.

  7. lawschooldrunk says:

    You did not mention the most important thing: What will the price scheme be?

  8. B.J. Reed says:

    Glen Grant can be an exceptional whisky – Have the D&T 34 YO and the G&M 37 YO and both hold up pretty well – It will be nice to see some younger and more varied distillery bottlings – I will have to snag a few from Brett in Chicago…

  9. This is the first time I read about the “Major’s Reserve”. Sounds a little euphemistic for a 7yo. Does this imply that the NAS Glen Grant sold cheaply on the supermarket shelves across Europe is even younger?

  10. G Llaguno says:

    Hey guys,

    I recently saw the Glen Grant 10yr at a local supermarket, and at a great price! $450MXN = $35 USD and I missed it! Do you recommend me to buy and try this malt?

    Tks!

  11. Gary says:

    Sounds like the 10 yo might be the way to go for me. Thanks John.

  12. Robinski says:

    #10 If you like a light yet complex dram, the Glen Grant 10YO is definately the way to go….

  13. Robinsky says:

    John

    Looking forward to your reviews.

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