*Sincere thanks to NR from Exposure PR for the sample.
In an attempt to give you a little mood music and to keep the Glen Grant Five Decades theme going, here are songs from the five decades in question, all performed at least partly by someone named Grant. Go ahead pick a tune, I’ll wait…
- For the 1960’s, The Equals with Eddy Grant and one of my all time favorite songs.
- From the 1970’s Australia’s The Go-Betweens with guitarist Grant McLennan.
- From the 1980’s, One of the greatest bands to ever walk the planet, Minneapolis’ Hüsker Dü with singer/drummer Grant Hart.
- From the 1990’s, More from Minneapolis, Soul Asylum with drummer Grant Young.
- From the 2000’s, Grant Lee Phillips covering a New Order song from the 80’s.
Now that the mood is properly set, Glen Grant’s Five Decades was released in the Fall of 2013 to celebrate Master Distiller Dennis Malcolm’s 50th year with the distillery. Malcolm began work at Glen Grant as an apprentice cooper, eventually rising to the position he holds today, overseeing the 8th largest distillery in Scotland which produces the 6th most popular single malt in the world. Five Decades is a vatting…sorry, a “marriage” of whiskies made by Malcolm from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and 00’s. The edition size of this limited release is a fairly large 12,000 bottles.
The Nose: Bright and fresh, delightful, really. Nice notes of honey and brown sugar, along with waxy Red Delicious apples and a bit of peaches and cream (not this kind). Quite a bit of soft malted barley, a touch of almond paste, and nice spice notes of Vietnamese cinnamon and bourbon vanilla.
The Palate: Still light, but with a bit more pop than the nose, this progresses nicely with notes of over-ripe pears, spiced apple sauce and sea-salted caramels. The sweet barley is back as well, along with malted milk balls, nutty toffee, and even a touch of salty mixed nuts. A mellow spice wave of vanilla bean, cinnamon stick and grippy clove leads to the finish.
The Finish: Nice length with last burst of bruised apple sweetness, honey-roasted salted almonds, vanilla bean, and soft, drying clove trailing off at the end.
Thoughts: Very enjoyable. Surprisingly enjoyable even because both on the nose and the palate, the initial impressions are of youth and simplicity. I don’t think it would shock anyone to find out that the large majority of the whisky used here was the young stuff from the 2000’s and 1990’s. This definitely feels like a relatively young, teen-aged whisky, but where it succeeds is the use of the older whiskies to temper the edges, smooth the youth, and add subtle shades of depth. Glen Grant’s success is based on the popularity of its lighter style and younger whisky, so it’s quite fitting that they seem to have decided to showcase that here, using the old stuff to help show off that style, rather than trying to make a whisky seem older than it is, – chapeau to that. This originally clocked in at a pricey $250, as an NAS malt, it’s not worth that, but still, expertly made stuff. Recommended.
Glen Grant Five Decades, Speyside, OB +/-2013