Glen Grant

Glen Grant is a Speyside distillery in Rothes, about 10 miles south of Elgin. Previously owned by Chivas Brothers Ltd, Glen Grant is perhaps better known via the Chivas Regal blended scotch. Since 2005 it has been part of the Italian Campary group and has been acquiring a reputation for clear coloured, fresh and light single malt whiskies. The name derives from the family name of the Grants and the Scottish word for valley ‘Glen’. Accordingly, Glen Grant means ‘Valley of the Grants’.

Recommendations

High-quality Glen Grant whiskey may not be as widely available or as ranging as its competition, but it has a lot to offer both connoisseurs and beginners. Independent bottlers like Gordon & MacPhail and Signatory offer relatively plentiful releases of the speyside malt and are always worth trying. The distilleries core range is also worth exploring, in particular:

Glen Grant 10 Year old Single Malt Scotch

This standard bottling from the distillery is matured in ex-bourbon barrels for a decade, and develops a sweet taste of pear and vanilla. The fine spicy and sweet aromas are reminiscent of garden fruits and butter scotch, nut and cereal flavors, while the soft and dry finish lasts for a long time. The entry bottle is pure enjoyment for beginners and connoisseur alike.

Glen Grant The Majors Reserve

The Majors Reserve single malt has intensely fruity aromas of lemons and apples with a subtle nut note. A hint of wood resonates and combines with full-bodied vanilla. The whisky is exceptionally sweet and fruity and has notes of wood and malt. Its finish is relatively short and is slightly nutty. The whisky is extremely versatile for preparing cocktails and long drinks.

Production

The water for the production comes from the Caperdonich Well and the Glen Grant Burn respectively. The distillery has a 12 t stainless steel mash tun, and ten Douglas fir wash backs (fermentation tanks, with a capacity of 19,916 litres each. Distillation is carried out in four wash stills (22,730 l each) and four spirit stills (11,547 l each). While the stills were originally fired with coal, they are now heated with steam.

History

The Glen Grant Distillery was founded in 1840 by John and James Grant, two brothers. Glen Grant follows the classic tradition of illicit distillation to legitimate distillery. The Grant brothers were successful smugglers and illicit distillers before they founded Glen Grant. As an interesting anecdote James Grant was a trained lawyer albeit with a law attitude to alcohol laws. The two not only went about their work with passion and increasing expertise, but were also known for their love of experimentation and their future-oriented thinking. Barely 20 years after the Grant whiskey distillery opened, it became the first Scottish distillery to feature electric light.

The family-run company retained its visionary thinking for a long time. James Grant died in 1872 and the distillery passed to his son Major James Grant. As ambitious as his father, he also became a pioneer of Scottish whiskey Scene and built a second distillery in close proximity and designed a special barrel for transporting the new make distillate. The distillery opposite the first building was initially known as Glen Grant No. 2 and completed in 1897. Five years later, it had to be closed - but only temporarily, because around half a century later it resumed production as the Caperdonich Distillery.

In the 1950s, George and JG Smith merged to create “The Glenlivet & Glen Grant Distillers”. Longmorn merged with the Glenlivet and Glen Grant Distilleries Ltd. and Hill, Thomson & Co. Ltd. to form The Glenlivet Distilleries Ltd in 1970. The new company was bought out in 1977 by the Chivas & Glenlivet Group (operating under the name of Seagram), which in turn were acquired by Pernod Ricard.

2006 marked another milestone in the history of the Glen Grant distillery, it was acquired by the Italian Campary group for 115 million euros. A year later, the range was completely redesigned and relaunched, The Glen Grant 15 years was launched as a limited single cask edition (single cask bottling). In the years that followed, further limited editions, including Cask Strength, were added.

Distillery Factsheet

Name Pronounced AKA Region Country of Origin
Glen Grant glen grant Speyside Scotland
Status Active Whisky Type Website Tours Available
Active 1840 - Present Malt Glen Grant Not Available
Manager Distiller Blender Owned by Parent Group
Dennis Malcolm Campari

Glen Grant Timeline:

1833: John Grant worked on his fathers farm and established a grain merchant’s business. He and his younger brother James had been engaged in illicit distilling

c.1833: John and James Grant went into partnership with the owners of Aberlour Distillery

1839: The brothers Grant leased some land from the Earl of Seafield and built the first Glen Grant Distillery

1840: John and James Grant found the Glen Grant distillery

1872: James Grant takes over the business after the death of the two founders

1898: Drum painting is introduced

1840-60s: James Grant, lawyer in Elgin, went into partnership with his brother John to establish Glen Grant Distillery, continued until 1860s

1860s: Company became J. & J. Grant

1864: John or James died

1872: John or James died and the distillery passed on to James Grant’s son, also named James and known as "The Major". He extended the distillery, built a mansion for himself nearby, and created a romantic woodland garden in the glen behind. The house has been demolished

1894: Glen Grant No.2 Distillery has been built across the road to meet the demand of whisky

1898: After the collapse of Pattison’s, the large Edinburgh firm of brokers and blenders and a major client of the distillery, production of Glen Grant No.2 Distillery ceased. It reopened in 1965 as Caperdonich Distillery

c.1900: Glen Grant is one of the first to be widely available as a single malt throughout Scotland

1931: James Grant died and ownership of the distillery passed on to Major Douglas Mackessack, his grandson

1932: Incorporated as J. & J. Grant, Glen Grant Ltd.

WWII: The distillery closed

1953: Merged with George & J.G. Smith of the Glenlivet to form The Glenlivet & Glen Grant Distilleries Ltd.

1970: The Glenlivet & Glen Grant Distilleries Ltd. merged with Longmorn-Glenlivet Distilleries Ltd. and Hill, Thomson & Co. Ltd., blenders of Queen Anne whisky, to form The Glenlivet Distillers Ltd. (1972 mentioned as well)

1973: Extended from four to six stills

1977: The Glenlivet Distillers Ltd. purchased by Seagram Company Ltd. (1978 mentioned as well)

1977: Extended from six to ten stills. Four old stills coal-fired, with the last water-wheel-driven rummager in the industry. Six new stills gas-fired

1995: The woodland garden has been restored. The stills became steamheated

1999: Owned by Chivas Brothers

2000: Seagram’s was bought by Pernod Ricard

2004: Owned by Chivas Brothers