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Spirits Review: Glen Grant Single Malt Scotch Whisky (The Major’s Reserve)

Note: in keeping with our disclosure policy on reviews, the bottle reviewed herein was provided to theSpeakista (it was not solicited in any way).  Aside from the bottle(s) of spirits provided to theSpeakista, no compensation was provided nor sought and the review provided below is our best assessment of the spirit tasted/sampled.

So it was several months back that we received an email from Sean, per one of our Negroni Nirvana posts, complimenting us on the series.  Shortly after, a care package arrived at our doorstep (from Sean and his marketing/brand group) containing a few bottles of spirits.  Today we are reviewing the first of said bottles.  Thank you again Sean … we have enjoyed them quite a bit.

Spirit Name: GlenGrant Single Malt Scotch Whisky, “The Major’s Reserve”

Spirit Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Distillery:  Glen Grant (Rothes) Distillery, Speyside

Appearance: In the bottle the spirit is a light, almost golden color.  In the glass, the spirit holds light nicely and with dash of cold water (or ice), clouds ever so slightly.

Aroma: At first, the spirit has a fresh grain aroma that opens to a sweet, honey-like essence.  There is but the faintest note of fresh cut grass and flowers (I noted this with a question mark several times but each time I took a smell to test this, I kept noting it). Over ice, the grain notes took over with the grass and flower smells fading to nothingness.

Taste: As is the case with most spirits we try for the first time (and or review), we sampled the “The Major’s Reserve” in three ways — neat, with an added dash of cold-filtered water and over ice.

Neat: on first sipping the “The Major’s Reserve” we noted an almost “crisp, young wine-like” quality to the flavor profile with hints of fresh fruit (grape and interestingly, to us, apricots and apples) with a nice honey backdrop. As is the case with most Scotch whisky’s, the presence of various grain-like flavors is always front and center.

With a dash of water:  the flavors are much more rounded and nuanced with the addition of a touch of water.  In either case, the typical “heat” present in a spirit such as this is gone and a smooth sipping experience awaits you.

In either of these two cases, when compared to its more forward (and some would say, brash) Islay cousins, the GlenGrant seems somewhat demure.  This in no way should note a weak offering … this Scotch strikes me as a very well-crafted spirit meant to focus less on peat, heat and grains (although that is there) and more on fruit, natural layers of sweetness and more floral/vegetal notes.

Over ice:  our least favorite of the three versions; gone are the lovely notes of fruit and sweetness and what remains is very little.  Stay with the neat and/or dash of water versions.

In a drink: Truth be told, we struggled a bit with this portion of our review — how should we use the spirit in a mixed-drink format?  “The Major’s Reserve” is a less robust form of Scotch yet possessive of some great qualities.  Our recent excursion into beer bliss still fresh on our mind, we sought to create (we think it is) an original drink to profile the spirit.  The “Speyside on my mind …” pairs several ounces of the Scotch with fresh lemon juice, honey syrup and a touch of the floral liqueur St-Germain and tops it with a light lager. The addition of the beer adds a dash of bitterness to the semi-sweet, semi-tart mixture and allows the Scotch to provide a steady base.  We hope that you enjoy?

Speyside on my mind …
Recipe created (he thinks), by theSpeakista in honor of the GlenGrant “The Major’s Reserve” Scotch Whisky

•    2 oz GlenGrant “The Major’s Reserve” Scotch Whisky
•    3/4 oz St-Germain elderflower liqueur
•    1/2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
•    1/2 oz honey syrup (2 parts honey mixed with one part warm water)
•    ~ 2 oz lager style beer (Red Stripe was used)
Garnish: none
Glass: chilled rocks or Old Fashioned glass
Tools: mixing glass and tin, bar spoon and Hawthorne strainer

Assembly: add all of the ingredients save the beer to the mixing glass/tin and shake hard and well for 10 seconds or so until well chilled. Double-strain the mixture into the serving glass that has been filled with a large ice rock and top with the beer.

Wrap-up: In the end, I really enjoyed the GlenGrant “The Major’s Reserve” Scotch Whisky. Typically I’m a spirit on ice sort of drinker but in this case, absent the “heat” present in most spirits, this Scotch invites you to simply fill a glass (with an added splash of chilled filtered water).  It is thoroughly enjoyable on its own as a sipping spirit and while we enjoyed creating the Speyside on my mind . . . , we firmly believe that all you need is a glass, a little cold water and a bottle of the GlenGrant and all will be well in the world.

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