Every year just before Christmas there is a mini event of which many people make an awfully large fuss. Not Halloween no but the “unveiling” of Jim Murrays latest Bible. A large part of this is the awards for best whisky in a suite of different categories. The producers love this because it can drive sales and retailers love it because, well, it can drive sales.
For 2018 the best scotch whisky is the Glen Grant 18 which I am fairly sure was mentioned in 2017 as well. It isn’t cheap at over £100 which may or may not be related to the accolades from Mr Murray so I don’t have a bottle to review it. I do, however, have a bottle of the youngest age stated whisky. The 10-year-old also won an award in 2016 and the packaging still has the little crest at the top of the box so let’s see if it deserves it.
The whisky bible has its own website at http://whiskybible.com/ if you want to explore more into this fine publication.
Founded in 1840 by the two brothers John and James Grant in the Speyside region of Scotland. Located next to the River Spey in the town of Rothes it is now owned by the Italien company Campari where it is the best selling malt whisky in Italy.
The house style matches the generally favoured style in Italy which is light and fruity. This style comes from the shape of the stills and fairly heavy use of refill casks. The shape of the stills and use of condensors is nicely shown on the back of the 10-year-old box as well which is a nice touch.
In the image above you can see mention of “The Major” this was Johns’ son who took over running the distillery after his fathers death. He was a naturally entrepreneurial individual who was one of the first distillery owners to start exporting their product. This might have come easily to John since he enjoyed travelling and shooting in Africa as a nice little hobby.
The Glen Grant 10 Year old is bottled at 40% ABV in an elegant and classy bottle which you can see above. Also, notice at the top of the box the crest from the Whisky Bible proclaiming this to be the best single malt of 2016.
There is not information from what I can find about the use of artificial colouring or filtration however given the strength I can imagine both are in use here. This is an entry level bottle into single malts and the price is very competitive as a result at around £30 in the UK and can be found HERE.
Colour – Light lemon juice
Nose – Very fruity from the off with apples and pears the base to some tart old fashioned boiled sweets.
Palate – The palate on this mirrors the nose very well. The fruit flavours take on an almost floral aspect as well. There is however, something missing and it feels quite hollow. What is present is a very spirity character of young alcohol which hasn’t mellowed very well.
Finish – Things are back on track in the finish with a welcome new dimension of warm caramel sauce and runny honey. Finally, there is a sour note of some lemon rind to complete things.
It has taken me quite a few sittings to get into this whisky. From the very first pour I have always enjoyed the nose on this. The fruity and sweet smells are just delicious but the rest of the experience can feel slightly hard work. There is quite a few spirity notes which I tend to dislike being as sharp as they are here. While there is nothing wrong with spirit led whiskies of which this is one that doesn’t mean they have to be overly harsh.
While this is a good whisky at a very affordable price is it the best single malt whisky of 2016? Absolutely not and to give it such a lofty title does nothing to help the reputation of Jim Murray, Glen Grant, competitions or the whisky industry as a whole. I can only hope this years 18 year old winner is more fitting of the accolades.