Andy Gem­mell’s Drinks Cab­i­net

Sunday Herald Life - - DRINK -

Glen Grant Dis­tillery Rothes, Aber­lour

His­tory: There are con­flict­ing sto­ries about the ori­gins of this iconic dis­tillery. It was founded in 1823 by for­mer il­le­gal whisky smug­glers, which at the time was not un­usual as il­licit whisky dis­till­ing was rife through­out Scot­land due to the amount of tax paid to her majesty’s gov­ern­ment. In fact at the time it is be­lieved that around half of the whisky in Scot­land came from un­li­censed dis­til­leries. Glen Grant was later bought by broth­ers John and James Grant in 1840, who most be­lieve built the dis­tillery at this time. Re­gard­less of the ex­act dates the broth­ers ex­panded the site to make it one of the big­gest dis­til­leries of its time. By 1872, the broth­ers had passed away and young James “The Ma­jor” Grant took over. The Ma­jor was a nat­u­ral when it can to grow­ing Glen Grant as a brand. Over the last 140 years it has grown to one of the world’s top five sell­ing sin­gle malts. To­day it is owned by Ital­ian com­pany, Gruppo Cam­pari.

The whisky: Glen Grant sin­gle malt is known for its light, easy­drink­ing style, which has proved mas­sively pop­u­lar in Italy, Spain and France: its big­gest mar­kets. The 18-year-old re­launched in 2016 is top of the list for me with notes of caramel, raisins and vanilla. The brand’s big seller is the Ma­jor’s Re­serve, which you can pick up for around £23. This is of­ten en­joyed with coke in the coun­tries I men­tioned, which per­son­ally, I see noth­ing wrong with at all.

Favourite tip­ple: If you are into your whisky and like try­ing some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent then keep you eyes peeled for pretty much any of the Gor­don MacPhail bot­tlings from Glen Grant. The re­la­tion­ship with the El­gin whisky bot­tler goes all the way back to at least the 1930s.

Why visit? This is a beau­ti­ful dis­tillery sur­rounded by a stun­ning Vic­to­rian wood­land gar­den. It at­tracts around 10,000 visi­tors each year. Tours are avail­able all year round and of­fer an in-depth look at their process as well as an op­por­tu­nity to learn about the legacy of the Grant fam­ily.

In­ter­est­ing fact: If you are into the his­tory of whisky, you may have no­ticed a lot of dis­til­leries were founded around the same time as Glen Grant, around the 1830s on­ward. This is not a co­in­ci­dence. As soon as the ink was dry on the act of Union in 1707, whisky was heav­ily taxed, so much so that whisky mak­ers went un­der­ground and started to make their own il­licit hooch to sell. The English even formed their own “whisky po­lice”, bet­ter known as the ex­cise­men, who would try to catch il­licit pro­duc­ers in the act. This game of cat and mouse went on for over 100 years un­til the Ex­cise Act of 1823, which meant that whisky mak­ers could ac­tu­ally make money from cre­at­ing whisky. So from this date the smug­glers could set up le­git­i­mate dis­til­leries of their own. Fol­low me on Twit­ter @andy­drink or on Face­book

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