Here is the last of the Glen Grants I’d said I’d review back in February; and it’s the last Glen Grant I’ll probably review for a while. Like the Whisky-fässle and Maltbarn bottles I reviewed recently, this is also from 1992, but it is two years older than those two. It’s also unlike them in that it’s smoky, which I was not quite expecting. Now, the Whisky Exchange’s notes do mention “a distinct whiff of wood smoke” but there’s quite a bit more than a whiff here—everyone in my local tasting group remarked it when the bottle was opened earlier this year and if anything it’s got stronger as the bottle’s stayed open. In fact, I would say it’s smokier than indicated in Whisky Magazine’s notes, which do mention smoke. Surprisingly, Serge Valentin’s notes on Whiskyfun don’t mention smoke at all—that one’s a bit of a head-scratcher; there are no notes on it on Whiskybase. If you’ve had it, please write in and let me know if you found no/faint/palpable smoky notes.
Glen Grant 22, 1992 (57.8%; bourbon barrel; from my own bottle)
Nose: Apples, lemon zest and some prickly, peppery peat. Gets a bit sweeter as it sits but is a bit tight at full strength. Not much other change with time. With a few drops of water it gets mentholated and the apple gets a little baked and the peat recedes.
Palate: Leads with peppery peat and ashy smoke. The citrus and the softer fruit show up in the second wave. Very nice, oily mouthfeel. With more time the citrus, zesty and oily, begins to move to the fore and melds nicely with the pepper and peat. The smoke fades a bit with time but is always present. Less peaty/smoky here too with water but there’s still no mistaking it.
Finish: Long. The ashiness lingers for a while. With water it’s less ashy but more peppery.
Comments: I don’t think I’ve encountered palpable levels of peat in modern Glen Grant before—it’s certainly not present in any of the others I’ve reviewed this year, including the other 1992s. Did they run the occasional peated distillation in the early 1990s? Or is this a case of maturation in a cask that had previously held smoky whisky? If you know more about this—or have more experience with peaty Glen Grant—do write in below.
Rating: 88 points.