This ancient Glen Grant from Scott’s Selection is for me one of those stories that every whisky geek whose reach exceeds his or her bank balance’s grasp knows well. I saw it for years on shelves, listed at prices that were then past my comfort level (well past for whiskies on which little information was available), and passed. Now those prices are not entirely out of the question for me but I no longer see it on shelves. So when a friend offered me a sample I was partly hoping to have my initial qualms vindicated. But, as you’ll see, that did not turn out to be the case. Bloody hell.
Glen Grant 1967-2003 (55.1%; Scott’s Selection “Sherry Cask”; from a sample received in a swap)
It’s a little unusual for Scott’s Selection to specify cask type on the label but apparently it says “Sherry Cask” or “Sherry Wood” on this one.
Nose: Acetone at first–varnish, over-ripe banana–but after a minute or so of breathing there’s cold black tea, polished wood, hints of rye/pine and some apricot jam. After another minute there’s more lemon and a raisiny sweetness. The wood is quite present but not overbearing and not tannic. The fruit grows a little more tropical with time–hints of mango emerge–and there’s also a malty note now and a hint of milky coffee. A drop of water brings out even more lemon and a little more pine/mint.
Palate: Starts off a little blank; then the lemon comes on and as I swallow there’s slowly expanding fruit with deeper sweet/sour notes of apricot, tinned pineapple and some mango. Not quite as much of a tropical fruit cocktail as some Longmorns and Caperdonichs of this age and era I’ve tried but quite fruity nonetheless, and rather nice. The wood’s not really apparent here. Hugely drinkable at full strength. With subsequent sips the fruit arrives earlier and the polished wood and malt and mocha from nose show up too. With more time the lemon asserts itself again over all the fruit but it’s a mellow lemon (not acidic and bright), almost like some kind of sweetened lemon liqueur. Water makes it a little sweeter–raisins?–but also brings out more pine.
Finish: Medium. The fruit gets a little more acidic as it fades out and now here’s the wood: toasted and spicy and a lovely counterpoint at the end. Water doesn’t do anything for the finish except maybe make the wood a little more bitter.
Comments: This is very good. A very nice balance of fruit and wood, and rather grown up in addition to being old. If you see one near you please drop me a line via the “Contact” page.
Rating: 90 points.
Thanks to Patrick for the sample!