I am started to see a pattern developing with this advent calendar now. Yesterday was the first single grain dram so far and today we have another one. Yesterdays was lets say…rustic where as this release has a better reputation for quality.


The Distillery

The Girvan distillery is located in Ayrshire near the town of Girvan. It was built by William Grant and Sons in 1963 to provide their own source of grain whisky for blending. The site used to a munitions factory in World War II producing cordite for high explosives.

From above the large site just looks like an industrial production plant because that is really want it is. It is about as far from a Victorian traditional malt whisky distillery as you can imagine.


From this aerial image above you can see the site contains a lot of warehouses for storing casks, a cooperage and I believe the large building to the top right of the image is the new Ailsa Bay distillery which opened in 2007. The site is also where the now highly collectable Ladyburn distillery was situated. Ladyburn however lasted less than a decade and was less a distillery and more a couple of stills installed in the corner of a building. Blogs I have read in the past suggest Ladyburn bottlings can vary dramatically in quality but rarely in price, they are all very expensive now.

While mostly used for blending there is a few expressions on the market of single grain expressions of Girven with age statements over 50 years like here. Grants was one of the first companies to bottle as a single grain. With what we have learned so far about Grants we can see a pattern developing that this is a company who takes risks and tries new things to gain market share.

With this plant being so industrial there is little else I know about it really

The Dram

The patent still range is the single grain premium product line for the Girvan Distillery. The range includes:

  • 4 Apps NAS expression (named after the name of the still (appliance 4)
  • full proof (reviewed here)
  • 25 year old
  • 30 year old

Each expression comes in an upmarket presentation box which is really trying to lift the reputation of grain whisky.


This full proof version is 57.1% ABV as the name would suggest and is available for £74.95 here.

Tasting Notes

Colour – white wine

Nose – lemons and vanilla but the bite of alcohol is quite overpowering

Palate (no water) – vanilla pods and lemsip lemons

Palate (water) – much sweeter with a lot of water really brings out a barley note

Finish (no water) – finishes as a long hot vanilla drink. No raw alcohol burning though

Finish(water) – the large amount of water I added to cut back the alcohol really cut back the finish. There is none of the vodka harshness of yesterday’s Haig though.

Final Thoughts

The quality here is much better than yesterday but I can’t say I would enjoy making my way through a whole bottle of this. I love cask strength whisky I enjoy getting more flavour and experimenting with adding water. I love getting more from a bottle of whisky because I see it like concentrated Ribena. However, this one just didn’t seem to do it for me. It is a lot of money for a simple whisky so I cannot advise anyone to rush out and buy it. The 4 apps expression I have tried in a hotel bar. It is a clear as mineral water but actually is much nicer presentd at 43% ABV.

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