A few years ago during a holiday in Italy, I came across this young expression and it was at the time unusual to have such young age statements. Nowadays, we see more and more low numbers appearing on labels next to the ongoing trend of no age statement whiskies. The last bottling with quite a lot of noise about its young age was the Lagavulin 8 year old launched to celebrate the 200 year anniversary in 2016. For a price around the 20 € mark I did not think long and bought the Glen Grant as I wanted to see what I would get from this 5 year old expression.
Italy is a key market for young whiskies and that’s why I picked next to this Glen Grant 5, which comes unsurprisingly with 40% ABV, also a Macallan Fine Oak 8 year old, which I will review soon. Italy is the main market for Glen Grant so it is no surprise that this 5 year old whisky is widely available. A video about this expression is available on the Italian Glen Grant website.
Glen Grant distillery
Glen Grant distillery is located in the heart of the Speyside region in Scotland in the small town of Rothes. Founded in 1840 by the brothers James and John Grant, managers of Dandelaith distillery at the time. In 1872, James Grant junior took over after his father James Grant passed away. A few years later, in 1897, James Grant decided to build another distillery across the road, Glen Grant No. 2. Mothballed only 5 years after being build the distillery reopened in 1965 but renamed to Caperdonich distillery. Caperdonich is until today a much loved whisky by connoisseurs but got demolished in 2010 after the distillery was sold to Forsyth’s, manufacturer of copper pot stills, in Rothes. By 1961, Glen Grant was the most sold malt whisky in Italy and is still until today extremely popular.
In the 1970’s, Glen Grant changed hands a few times and remained in ownership of the Chivas & Glenlivet Group (Seagrams) from 1977 until 2001. In 2001 Pernod Ricard and Diageo bought Seagrams Spirits and Wine. Shortly after in 2006, Gruppo Campari purchased the distillery and brand for €115m as it was so popular in the Italian market. The single malt range re-launched in 2007 with new expressions and new packaging. There are numerous expressions in the core range with the Glen Grant 5 for the Italian market and the Major’s Reserve, a no age statement whisky, for most other markets like the UK or Germany.
Glen Grant 5 years old tasting notes
Appearance: White wine / pale gold
Nose: Very light, vibrant and fruity with fresh apples and some deeper sweet notes of a freshly baked apple crumble. Sweet, clean and malty flavours with some hay make it a straightforward whisky. Vanilla notes come through with lemon zest and some coconut, which make it appetising. With time, more tropical fruits come through and the initial vibrancy calms down. Feels creamier now and reminds of cider made in the German region of Swabia.
Palate: Light and malty with some herbal notes dominating at the start, quickly followed by lemon zest and vanilla. A nice combination of green fruits from apples, pears and green grapes give it a nice sweetness. Green grass and hay with a drier mouthfeel of cereals. Hints of cinnamon and the appearance of white chocolate round off a not overly complex but nice palate.
Finish: Short, apple sweetness and dry. Dryness and bittersweet flavours remind me about the old Boskoop apple variety. Green fruits again followed by some spice.
Comment: A simple but pleasant and lovely whisky. Shows how good a young whisky can be. Not an overly complex whisky but the few things it delivers are nice. A light, fresh and delicate whisky, which works perfect as an aperitif. Easy drinking in a warmer climate like Italy or simply on a warmer day in the sun.