Thursday is usually recipe day on the blog. But this week’s recipe—for chana masala—will be posted tomorrow. Instead, today I have for you the third of this week’s whisky reviews—which is also the third of this week’s reviews of recent releases by WhiskySponge. On Monday, I’d posted my review of a 24 yo bourbon cask Ardmore that I both enjoyed and was a little disappointed by. On Wednesday, I had a review of a 22 yo sherry-finished Ardmore that I was less enthused by. Both are good whiskies, in my opinion, but I found neither to be particularly distinctive or worth the high prices that were asked for them. Today, I have what is officially a malt from an undisclosed Speyside distillery but is said to be a Glen Grant. And my understanding is that it is made from lightly peated malt, which makes it more than a little unusual for Glen Grant. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a modern-era Glen Grant with palpable peat in it and I’m looking forward to trying it for that reason alone. Let’s get to it.
Speyside/Glen Grant 19, 2003 (51.2%; WhiskySponge; refill hogshead; from a bottle split)
Nose: A nice mix of lime, gooseberry, freshly cut grass and a savoury/nutty quality. The nutty note is more pronounced on the second and third sniffs and there’s a bit of mineral oil in there too. As it sits it gets quite creamy and custardy (hints of key lime pie). With a couple of drops of water the fruit gets pushed back and the cream expands, picking up some malt.
Palate: Comes in with the acidic fruit in the lead and then turns sweeter (peach) as I swallow. A very nice drinking strength with oily texture. Lime peel on the second sip along with more of the peach. With time the pepper from the finish pops out earlier and there’s more than a slight hint of gin (with a splash of tonic and a big twist of lime). Okay, let’s see what water does for it. The gin is still here; a lot of white pepper now.
Finish: Long. The fruit is in the lead here with the acid returning. Maltier too now, with a touch of oak in the background. Pepper at the end. With time the fruit gets a little muskier here. Less fruity and generally as on the palate with water.
Comments: This is a rather lovely bourbon cask whisky. The peat is barely palpable as such, seemingly showing up mostly in the form of pepper and mineral oil. Those notes do round out the fruit and cream very nicely. If more Glen Grant was made this way I’d drink more Glen Grant.
Rating: 88 points.