Glen Grant Five Decades

Glen Grant

I’m not going to lie to you. You’ll have noticed by now (particularly if you follow us on Twitter) that we get invited to some pretty fucking cool events. We go to launches of new releases, taken on distillery tours, attend PR stuff and the like. When we’re asked to go to these things we’re humbled and privileged. We know not everyone gets to experience some of the things we do and we try to relay the essence of each event to you, our dear readers, in an irreverent and entertaining fashion. Most recently, I went to a Glen Grant Five Decades event at The Gardener’s Cottage to celebrate Dennis Malcolm spending over half a century at Glen Grant.

Dennis is now master distiller at Glen Grant, but rewind back to 1961 and a fresh-faced 15yo Dennis joined the distillery as an apprentice cooper. Over the years he has climbed the whisky ladder and progressed up to ambassador and now master distiller. He has developed and extended the Glen Grant range to include The Major’s Reserve, the 10yo, the 16yo, the 1992 Cellar Reserve and the 170th Anniversary. He has also overseen the development and construction of the distillery’s magnificent visitor centre. Not a bad CV, I’m sure you’ll agree. To commemorate his half century at the distillery, he has hand selected casks from the past five decades and blended them together to create the Glen Grant Five Decades. This multi-vintage limited edition release required something a bit more special than your standard PR event. Enter stage left Jelly and Gin, masters of conjuring up creative dining experiences.

I strolled along to The Gardener’s Cottage and instantly bumped into Neil and Joel, the chaps from Caskstrength. After catching up over a cocktail or two we were ushered inside and sat down to a five course tasting menu, with each course taking inspiration from a particular decade and paired with a particular Glen Grant expression. The hors d’oeuvres a la Elizabeth David (1960s) were paired with Glen Grant 16yo, prawn cocktail (1970s) was matched with The Major’s Reserve, lobster ravioli a la Marco Pierre White (1980s) was accompanied by the 170th Anniversary, El Bulli’s deconstructed green asparagus (1990s) was paired with the 10yo and finally the Fat Duck liquid nitrogen ice cream (2000s) was matched with a dram of the Five Decades. Dennis guided us through each of the whiskies with his charming, unmistakeable character and I had the privilege of sitting next to him during the dinner. If you ever get the chance to meet Dennis soak up everything he says – some of the stories he recounted are a bit too risqué to print, even for EWB! He is a passionate man who clearly loves Glen Grant, and this shone through when he spoke about the Five Decades whisky. As I’ve said, this whisky is a blend of casks from each of the five decades Dennis has spent at the distillery with most being bourbon casks but there’s also a small portion of Oloroso butts in there too.

Glen Grant Five Decades
Limited Edition
46% ABV
£115 – available July 2013

Nose: Loads of honey, pancakes with syrup, vanilla, some cereal notes and a dash of orange oil.

Palate: Again, the honey is the dominant flavour. Then some chocolate orange, light toffee and vanilla come through followed by the faintest hint of smoke and oak.

Finish: Treacle toffee, dried fruit notes and creamy vanilla.

Overall: The liquid is very, very good, but it’s more the context and history which makes this whisky stand out. Having met Dennis and chatted to him at length about many topics, both whisky and non-whisky related, I gained a great insight into Glen Grant and the ethos of its master distiller. When this whisky is released onto the market will I part with £115? Most likely. And each time I have a dram I’ll raise my glass to Dennis Malcolm.

Tiger

 

Comments

  1. ‘We try to relay the essence of each event to you, our dear readers, in an irreverent and entertaining fashion’. Mission accomplished, Tiger! This sounds like a fabulous jamboree, with whisky pairings taken to a whole new galaxy.

    I share your admiration for these long-serving people. David Stewart and Dennis McBain are other examples at William Grant & Sons of people for whom whisky equates to a testament of their entire professional lives, rather than just a job of minimal tenure. It shows what a difference you can make plugging away at something for fifty years. Will the next whisky generation rack up such a collection of years and achievements?

    I’d like to think whisky looks after its own and rewards commitment. Slainte, Dennis!

    Thanks.

  2. Glad you enjoyed the event – we loved putting it together. Aoife

  3. Scotch Cyclist, it was indeed fantastic evening and a great tribute to Dennis’ commitment to the distillery over the past 50+ years. I’d like to hope that the ‘next generation’ of master distillers and distillery managers is able to produce gentlemen/ladies of the stature of Dennis, and of David Stewart and Dennis McBain as you rightly mention. Big shoes to fill though!

    Aoife, thanks again for dreaming up such a creative event and for executing it in such a excellent fashion!

    Tiger

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