Category Archives: Glen Grant

Glen Grant 1970 5-year-old

Bought: Whisky Auction, 31st July 2018

82.33/100 – Whiskybase (average from 12 member votes)

If Dr Who arrived in the Tardis and begged me to become their sexy assistant, after I stopped laughing I’d ask to go back to 2013. I’d want to tell my former self, at the starting of my whisky addiction, to buy a bottle distilled in my year of birth. I would make this suggestion to anyone who wants to collect whisky because the longer you leave it the more expensive it becomes. Dr Who would probably tell me that meeting myself would cause a rift in the space-time continuum so I’d grab their sonic screwdriver and shove it up their arse. That’s an episode you wont be seeing on the BBC!

I might not be as old as Dr Who but being born in 1970 means that finding a good whisky from back then doesn’t come cheap. Auctions are the best place to look but over the last few years I’ve missed out on several bottles that are now too expensive for me to consider. But one bottle that has remained quite reasonable is the Glen Grant 5-year-old distilled in 1970. This is due to its lack of maturity but ratings suggest that it’s a very acceptable dram.

The earliest example of this 5yo I can find on Whiskybase was distilled in 1962, so bottled in c.1967. The latest example was distilled in 1988 thus bottled in the early 1990s. So this series ran for just over 25 years (c.1967-1993). A lot of the bottles found on the UK auction scene today are market ‘Seagram Italia’ or ‘Giovinetti’ Import, as the bottles have found their way over from Italy where this 5-year-old had a strong market.

The Glen Grant 5yo, without a distillation date, is still available on the Italian market today where a 70cl bottle at 40% will set you back a mere €13. Apparently it’s the best selling single malt in Italy where it’s been thriving for decades.

Serge of Whiskyfun reviews the earliest Glen Grant 5yo from 1967 but only rates it 68/100 and believes age has taken its toll on the bottle he sampled. Serge then reviews a 1968 version, which he rates very highly with 86/100. Although there’s no reviews of my 1970 Glen Grant, a mark of 82.33/100 on Whiskybase is a very strong score. Serge noticed an unexpected peatiness to the 1968 version and wondered if this was due to the problems on Islay that caused the likes of Brora to produce peaty whisky on the mainland. Did Glen Grant do the same? The peaty production at Brora drifted into the early 1970s so when I finally crack open my Glen Grant I’ll be interested to see what I can detect in the flavour. I’m hoping the liquid has held its form like the ’68 and not the ’67 that Serge tried. But when a whisky is this old you can never be sure what to expect. The same can sometimes be said about me!

Glen Grant 26-year-old (SMWS 9.94)

Bought: SMWS, 30th October 2015

84/100 – Whiskybase (average from 4 member votes)

As I waited for the arrival of my SMWS membership pack I allowed myself to dream about the three 10cl samples I would receive; perhaps something rare, interesting or from an unusual distillery? The society used to send out packs containing four 10cl bottles and I spotted some at auction that included Macallan and Laphroaig. Perhaps I’d get a Highland Park or, God forbid, an Ardbeg! When the pack arrived it contained a Glen Grant, Caol Ila and Arran…..{tumbleweed}. It was like hoping for an X-box at Christmas only to receive an apple, pencil and a pair of socks.

Don’t get me wrong, Glen Grant, Coal Ila and Arran are all excellent distilleries that can produce fantastic whisky but they’re a bit, well, common. Practically every independent bottler’s website I’ve visited in the last 2 years has had all three of these distilleries available, often several versions. I was hoping the SMWS would be a little less predictable, especially having reduced the membership pack down to three bottles. Forgive me, I’m transcending into a grumpy old man! The male equivalent of menopause. I will chop the apple into the Glen Grant, stir the Coal Ila with my pencil and wear the socks whilst drinking the Arran. There, I’ve spiced up the experience!

Although this Glen Grant isn’t in the Whisky Bible 2016, the author includes 3 examples by the SMWS. A 12yo scores 89/100, a 16yo scores 94.5/100 and the one closest in age to mine, a 25yo, scores a lowly 79/100. Thankfully that doesn’t mean my 26yo is likely to be sub-80 and 84/100 on Whiskybase is a very reasonable mark, albeit from only 4 votes. One reviewer includes the official tasting notes for my dram, which are “sweetened coffee with chocolate brazils, stem ginger and sour cherries. Well handled leather, exotic woodiness and raspberry jam. Figs, date syrup, rich balsamic then creamy mint chocolate.” I think the addition of an apple could work well!

Glen Grant 26yo SMWS 9.94 10cl

Glen Grant 1993 (Carn Mor c.16-year-old)

Bought: Morrison & Mackay, 9th September 2015

80/100 – Whiskybase (average from 2 member votes)

This is my 18th 20cl of the Carn Mor Vintage Collection, a set of 24 quarter bottles of 24 different whiskies, each covering a separate year of distillation between 1983 and 2006. Unfortunately the 6 I’m missing are all early ones from the 1980s, which are practically impossible to find. Sometimes I stumble across a bottle or two online from Italy or Denmark but they never ship to the UK. I will have to wait patiently and see if any appear in future whisky auctions.

Although 80/100 from two reviews on Whiskybase might not sound very promising a reviewer has kindly included their tasting notes and they’re quite complimentary. They say of the taste “barley again (also in the nose), citron-sweet, alcohol, bitter-soft, metal, fish, canned fish, old coins, copper, spruce, resin, polish, wax, soft liqorice, old water, fat, old, metal, peach-very ripe, white peach” and summarises with “nice whisky, but I think the metallic notes seem to come from a rushed distillation. A pity, because the rest of flavours is actually quite nice!”

Glen Grant 1993 Carn Mor 20cl

Glen Grant Major’s Reserve

Bought – Wrights, The Lion Brewery, Farnham, 26th February 2014


85.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2014
80/100 – Ralfy, of
Review: – Ralfy – Glen Grant Major’s Reserve – YouTube

One of the nice things about going into a local, independent off licence is, you never know what you might find. It’s like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates but very alcoholic and only for those 18 or over. I’d never been into Wrights of Farnham but I’d driven passed many times. Finally its time had come! Behind the counter, along the top shelf, they had the usual suspects – Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Old Pulteney, etc., until my eyes stopped at a Glen Grant. I’d heard of the Major’s Reserve but I couldn’t remember what ratings it got and I’d missed Ralfy’s video review from January (shame on me!). But I knew that £19.49 was a good price, even when compared to online prices. I had to have it!

Having now watched Ralfy’s video, I’m still glad I bought this malt. Yes, I know it’s young (Ralfy says the oldest malt in it is 7yo maximum) and maybe it’s best mixed with something else but it’s Jim Murray’s bible remark about the taste that sells it to me. He gives the taste element a very high mark of 23/25 (effectively 92/100!) and says to forget the nose and the finish and enjoy the tasting part in the middle “such is the fresh beauty of the malt and stunning honeycomb threads which tie themselves around every taste bud”.

Interestingly, Jim complains that the finish is “caramel-rich” yet, as Ralfy points out, the light colour of the whisky suggests little use of caramel, certainly in terms of enhancing the colour. Jim says the caramel is there because nearly all the sherry butts at Glen Grant have been used up, so caramel is being added instead of that natural sherry sweetness we get from maturing in sherry casks.

Glen Grant The Major's Reserve 70cl

Glen Grant 10-year-old (1980s)

Bought – Online Whisky Auction, 22nd December 2013

79/100 – Malt Maniacs (average from 3 reviewers)

When I bought this bottle at auction I thought the seal over the cap had been put on by the distillery but I was wrong. When the bottle arrived I realised the seal was from the US Internal Revenue to indicate that the import tax had been paid. The great thing about this seal is it has the date printed on it – 1st May 1983. Which means this 10yo was distilled no later than 1973. It was imported by John Gross & Co, Baltimore, Maryland. 31 years later and it’s back in the UK!

Glen Grant 10yo 5cl

Glen Grant-Glenlivet 16-year-old

Bought – Online Whisky Auction, 31st October 2013

91/100 – Whiskyfun (see 2nd bottle reviewed here)

I bought this bottle without having seen a review so I was delighted to find it got 91/100 on Whiskyfun during a tasting in 2008. This bottle is from the 1980s and dates back to when ‘Glenlivet’ was still being attached to the name of Glen Grant. What I love the most is that this mini proudly states on the label that it was bottled by Wm. Cadenhead, 18 Golden Square, Aberdeen, which is my home town. I tend to associate Golden Square with lawyers, banks, going to the auction house or heading to the music hall. But if we’re talking whisky The Grill bar isn’t too far away, with its vast whisky list to sip your way through. I wonder if they have a Glen Grant-Glenlivet?!

Glen Grant-Glenlivet 16yo 5cl