Glen Grant SMWS 9.88 “A heart-starter”

smws 9.88 2.jpeg

I recently had the chance to try a sample of the upcoming Toronto Whisky Society bottling. More on that in the future. Far into the future. Unless you ask or are part of it, then you’ll find out.

But first we needed something to open up our tastebuds. And as an excellent hose, Igor, who is part owner of Heads & Tails, asked us what we typically use.

And we, being the young, impressional, foolish guests… stumbled. Went silent. Not because we couldn’t pick out. But because we didn’t want to give a bad answer. Because as millennials, we’re incapable of handling any social interaction that could be difficult without first freaking out and making it a bigger deal than farting in church.

Finally I stammered “Uh… young Speysides, typically. Anything 12 years old. Like a Glenfiddich or Glenlivet, you know?”

“Hmm… may not have anything like that. Let me see what’s close.”

Shit. Shit, shit, shit. Screwed up. Well, not really. It’s just a social interaction which I gave a low end result. He, of course, came back with Glen Grant SMWS 9.88 “A heart starter”, because it was a Speyside.

Granted it’s 25 years old, an IB, cask strength, and way more high end then I meant, but that’s okay. It did a great job of opening up the tastebuds.

But, you may be asking, how did it taste? Would you have it if you weren’t planning on having a dram, by itself?

Well let’s just see.

Price: $224.99 CAD

Region: Speyside

Date Distilled: April 1988

Age: 25 years

Cask Type: Refill butt / Ex-Sherry

Outturn: 542

Abv: 55.3%

Colour: 10YR 6/8

Nose: Beer nuts, orange peel, wood, caramel, spicy lemon, graham cracker, perfume

Initial notes are from right out of the bottle. Given some time to open it up, there’s more perfume, fruit, and less nuttiness/wood. Water opens it up nicely to have some spice and citrus.

At first this goes from complex to simple to complex again. A little bit of a roller coaster, given Glen Grant isn’t too high end, so you’re worried the bottom will fall out. But it doesn’t.

Taste: Butter, old banana, raisin, caramel, coffee, lemon rind, peach

Big butter, older sherry cask notes. Not overtly fruity, more so overripe fruit, molasses like notes.

Love the coffee notes. But I’m really loving coffee these days. Good oily notes. Reminds me of a zucchini cake or a banana bread.

Finish: Cherries, macadamia nuts, papaya, ginger candy, fireplace, leather, earth

Less dried fruit, more leather and earth. Nutty at first, but given some time to open up, it’s more earth and leather.

Would have liked more spice. But I’m a sucker for autumn spices more than a 20 something in uggs and yoga pants when the first leaf hits the ground in August.

Conclusion: Very solid dram. The pros: The cask was really, really good. No tons of fruit for the sherry here, more leather, and big earth/sweet notes. It’s been given enough time to balance out, and there’s few off notes.

The off notes are there though. It’s nice, but if you don’t like earth, raisins, or those drier molasses notes, then you’ll find it unbalanced. There are moments where there’s simple notes. It’s nice, opens up the tastebuds, has some complexity. Solid dram, so it gets a solid score from me.


Scotch review #621, Speyside review #189, Whisky Network review #1032

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