Master distiller Dennis Malcolm has been on the job for 60 years at Speyside’s Glen Grant distillery, and to mark the occasion the operation has launched a new permanent expression, the oldest in its lineup. The new 21 year old bottling joins 10, 12, 15, and 18 year old expressions, not to mention various special editions like Glen Grant V Five Decades.
This new release is aged in a mix of bourbon and oloroso sherry barrels, which is typical for Glen Grant.
Without much in the way of unique innovation here, I had moderated expectations for this new release. But it turns out that older Glen Grant is delightful Glen Grant, even if no one is rocking the boat too hard. A wealth of aromatics give the nose plenty of liveliness, with stone fruit and a sharp lemon oil note kicking things off. These pair nicely with notes of almond biscotti, toasted coconut, and a thin veneer of barrel char that adds just a touch of grittiness. The cereal notes endemic to single malt Scotch are so well integrated that the whisky smells like a fresh-baked pie.
On the palate, the whisky comes even more alive, the fruit quickly emerging as more tropical in tone, its notes of coconut pairing with pineapple and a squeeze of grapefruit in lieu of the aromatic lemon notes. Caramel and vanilla build on a lush, rounded body fading into a spiced chocolate character toward the finish. The whisky evolves further to reveal surprising notes of raisin and a mild incense character as the fade-out concludes.
A delight from start to finish, I’d be hard pressed to identify a more delightful whisky that I’ve ever had from Glen Grant. Get some.