Part of Glen Grant’s relaunched range in 2016, the 18 Year Old is rich and complex with notes of caramel, raisins and vanilla. It’s a great whisky for fans of big Speyside whiskies with layers and layers of sweet flavours.
This review is a part of the 2016 Whisky Network Review Series. This is the 13th review of the whiskies here on the blog this year. I have decided to include a few extra whiskies this year, and one of them is the Glen Grant 18. It’s part of the range relaunch, with the previous range was discontinued after the acquisition of the distillery by Chivas Brothers in 2012. The range was discontinued to make way for the new Glen Grant releases.
I have nothing against Chivas, but it was a shame to see the old range disappear, and in its place we now have the new range. The new range is now distilled on site, the old one was not, and it could well be the reason Chivas Brother chose to discontinue it. The marketing copy on the rear label suggests there was something wrong with the old range in production. According to the new range, it’s now finally distilled on site in small batches of a maximum of 150 litres. So how does it fare?
The nose is very fruity, with notes of sweet marmalade and ripe fruits. Banana is present right from the get-go. Light oak notes come through on the nose: there’s definitely some time in an oak bain-marie, but there’s no real baking or dry baking spices. Just a hint of vanilla comes through. It balances out the fruity sweetness, but doesn’t stand out as the main nose by any means.
In the mouth, the whisky is sweet and fruity again, now with some light notes of peaches. There’s caramel, dark fruits like raisins, and chocolate orange again. Brown sugar added.
It’s a whisky that’s quite creamy, with a bit of an oily feel on the tongue. There’s a mild spiciness, but again, not as much as I was expecting in the mouth.
This Glen Grant 18 Years is just the kind of whisky that wears its fruity, sweet, caramel-y notes on its sleeve. There’s a huge range of notes, but the ones they show the most on the nose aren’t the ones you’ll see in the mouth. If you get tired of the sweetness, there’s a bit of oak to balance out, but it’s still very fruity. In fact, there’s a lot of fruity whisky on the market, but just not that many from this part of Scotland, aged 18 years. For that reason alone, I’d recommend it. Fans of big, sweet Whisky’s with a lot of sherry-cask influence will find this really interesting. It is a big whisky, so I’d recommend it to the more experienced whisky drinker. However, there are the notes of oak that will appeal to people who are new to whisky; as well as the fact that it’s also a light whisky at 46%. So it’s a whisky for the more experienced whisky drinker as well as for the new whisky drinker, which does also make it interesting. If you want to try a whisky from this region but don’t want something peppy like the Cragganmore 12 or Glenfarclas 12, this is a really interesting whisky. Check out the interview from the distillery’s production team below.
It’s really made to be fruity, sweet and satisfying all at the same time. Reducing the spiciness on the spiciness in the mouth was probably the best decision that could be made for the whisky, but it would have been even more enjoyable with a little peat in the mix to wake up the tongue a bit. The whisky is sweet, and probably best enjoyed with dessert. And it’s certainly not something you will want to drink neat, because it’s not a whisky designed for that. It’s designed to enjoy with your dessert, and that makes it a really interesting whisky.
The extra years in the sherry casks really adds a lot of fruit notes to this whisky. And it’s nice to see those really fruity elements left in the whisky to the great extent that they’ve been.
The flavours don’t all stay with you for too long though: they’re there when you drink it, and then they’re gone. They’re not necessarily a bad thing, because they do again make it a very fruity whisky, but will never be one of the whiskies you reach for when you want to think about the flavour for a while.