Friday, 4 November 2011

Grant's Twitter Tasting

Last Wednesday evening I was in a hurry. My heart was pounding and my adrenaline soaring as I crashed down the escalators at Tottenham Court Road, knocking tourists and business people to the floor in my mental haste. I tore through the ticket barriers, sidestepped a police officer and leaped onto my train. As soon as the train pulled into my home station I threw myself out of the doors almost bludgeoning an innocent bystander with my bag and I scattered down the stairs executing a combat roll at the bottom purely for style. You may ask why I was making this Jason Bourne-eske effort to get home. The reason for this mad-dash rush was that I was meant to be participating in a Twitter Tasting courtesy of The Whisky Wire and Grant’s Whisky but thanks to an emergency I was leaving work an hour later than planned. While I was on the train I stewed in silence as I realised the world was against me taking part in Twitter Tastings. Last time my computer wouldn’t play cricket so I had to strap two Blackberry’s together and this time I was running late, I think next time I will be staying at home, rigging a Moon Mission array of computers up in my flat and won’t answer the phone until every whisky has been tasted and tweeted. Anyway… Thankfully my girlfriend had Twitter up and running as soon as I got in and had my whisky poured ready so I only missed the first half and was able to jump straight in and taste the eighteen and twenty-five year old Grant’s blends. I was in for quite a treat as these whiskies were well worth a sprint home. For the sake of continuity I will write my notes in the order I should have tasted them starting with the Ale Cask then moving from the twelve to the eighteen to the twenty-five year old. Thanks to everyone who took part and to Steve at The Whisky Wire and Ludo of Grant’s Whisky!

Grant’s Ale Cask Finish 
40% - No Age Statement – Scotch Blend 
Nose: There is the instant suggestion of the influence of hops creating a cereal forward nose with sponge cake and honeyed cream. With time a grassy quality emerges becoming more and more gorse like.
Palate: Creamy with malt biscuit flavours with a bitterness I would associate with beer. Usually this would put me off a whisky but I thought it played nicely with its cask finish.
Finish: A little sharp but refreshing and malty.
Overall: This is the first ale cask finish I have ever tried and I like new approaches. The whisky didn’t have much depth but compensated with it’s beery character.

Grant’s 12 Year Old 
40% - Scotch Blend 
Nose: Heavy on the cinnamon with plenty of vanilla and a hint of lemon curd. Most interestingly there is a charcoal element that is quite intriguing.
Palate: Very light and delicate with wood spice and an earthy quality that draws on the charcoal notes from the nose.
Finish: Brief with notes of spice and vanilla pods.
Overall: Great nose with lots going on, this blend really requires a longer finish to gain the favour it should deserve.

Grant’s 18 Year Old 
40% - Scotch Blend – Port Cask Finish 
Nose: Port leaps out of the glass first with rich cake notes smothered in marzipan and candied orange peel. With time conifer forest notes appear with a hint of peat.
Palate: Very earthy, with rich fruitcake and warming peat adding depth and a satisfying aftertaste.
Finish: Spice and jam go hand in hand here in what I like to call a chutney finish.
Overall: So much more going on here than in the previous two whiskies. The port finish gives the nose delicious fortified wine notes, and the palate is beautifully rich and luxurious. A blend done good!

Grant’s 25 Year Old 
40% - Scotch Blend – Rare malts and early Girvan in the mix. 
Nose: Peaches and ginger in a soft but spicy tango followed by rich brandy sauce and Christmas pudding. The Whisky Review noted cola sweets and I have to heartily agree here.
Palate: A creamy palate once again here but with plain chocolate stirred through. This leads to pulpy dried fruits, notably dates and prunes with an alcoholic cherry flavour following.
Finish: Long and spicy with almonds sprinkled over. Beyond this there is coffee and an essence of wood smoke.
Overall: Packed with interesting flavours that compliment and enhance one another, complexity is the word here. I couldn’t decide between this and the eighteen year old… although in hindsight it had to be the twenty-five, it makes me want to pour another glass.

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