Mature whiskies are rare and beyond the means of most whisky imbibers.
Thanks to a few events, generous fellow malt explorers, I’ve had the pleasure of sampling a couple of older drams – Glendronach, Glenfarclas and Auchentoshan come to mind. Yet none crossed the 50 year mark, let alone touched 60 years…
Until a fine evening of malting with Malt Maniac Krishna Nakula who started our evening off with this beauty from Glen Grant.
And best yet – my sample began completely blind so I had no idea what I was experiencing…
Glen Grant 60 year (14 Oct 1950 – 22 Nov 2010), Cask Strength No 2750, 2760 40%
- Nose – Musty, like a granary with my being transported to the Manitoba farms of my youth, cereals, then shifts more into the old, polished wood of antique furniture, followed by a light sweet honey, a delicate perfume, flowers, fruits, cream, the slightest hint of bitter mocha, as it kept airing with a just drop remaining, a delightful piquant aroma emerged
- Palate – Rubber, smoky, more of that antique wood, coffee, very elegant and nuanced, exceedingly easy on the palate, great mouthfeel
- Finish – Such staying power! Yet delicate with a light clove spice
Slow, complex with a hint of smoke without a pinch of peat. The more you sip, the more you marvel. Very sophisticated. This was one that if you had a full dram, it could last hours… sit, savour and let it continue to speak to you, revealing different elements along the way.
The two casks were both ex-sherry – one first fill and the other re-fill. While we do not know the balance between the two, given its nuanced character, the re-fill may have had more play.
We spoke of the contrasting character of sherry matured whiskies – with the younger Kavalan’s on one end of the spectrum with its intense very berry sherry character to the Glendronach grand dames matured for 39 – 42 years in Pedro Ximénez Sherry puncheons dripping in rum-soaked Christmas cake with dry fruits and nuts.
Whereas this Glen Grant was much more gentile, with a fresh ripe fruitiness not dried dates or prunes, light honey drizzle not rich dark maple syrup… a quite fabulous balance of subtle elements in perfect harmony.
A 1950 Glen Grant bottled in 2010 at 60 years of age. There is no other company in the world that still holds stocks of whisky like this, another super aged masterpiece by Gordon & MacPhail. Glen Grant is a spirit that ages beautifully, this is a beguiling mix of antique wood aromas, simmering spice, all kinds of layered fruit complexity and utterly perfect balance. A truly beautiful, utterly classy whisky that captures just how beautiful the really old whiskies can be, mesmeric stuff.
And yes, for once, words like “beguiling”, “layered fruit complexity”, “classy” and “mesmeric” really do apply…
What else did we sample in our Krishna Collection from July 2017?
- Bowmore 12 year (1970s – 80s) 40%
- Bowmore 16 year “The Prestonfield” Vintage 1972 (28 Feb 1972 – 1988), CS No 1036-39 43%
- Glen Garioch 17 year (1996-2016) Cask No 3730 55.7% (Adelphi)
- Caol Ila 36 year (1980-2016) 52.3% (Cadenheads)
- Laphroaig 19 year (Oct 1996-Feb 2016) Cask No 10720 53.9% (Old Particular)
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