For the Tasting: Glen Garioch and Glen Grant

Tasting notes on two exquisite expressions


Here at The Spirit I receive a lot of spirit samples—and I mean a lot. More often than not, I find myself wondering what to do with a lot of them, and recently I decided it would only be fair to inform all of you readers about the fairly amazing variety of liquors that I receive here on a daily basis.

Today is already a great day, as I’m tasting Scotch, one of my favorite spirits of all time. Spicy, smoky, warm, and inviting, Scotch is a force to be reckoned with, and I love reckoning with it. A good Scotch has the ability to take you to a completely different realm of flavor, and the two brands that I have on hand for you today do just that. The 1797 Glen Garioch Founder’s Reserve and the Glen Grant Major’s Reserve are two truly exquisite expressions of the Scotch tradition. Lucky for me, they found their way into my glass, and into my heart.

Scotch image courtesy of Draconiansleet via Flickr/cc
While tasting these two Scotches, I found one thing rang true with both; don’t overthink it. For those intimidated by the Scotch flavor profile, it’s easy to want to mix it into a Rob Roy or a Tom Collins and call it a day. But as a whiskey (and whisky) purist, I have a hard time mixing a spirit with another flavored mixer when it has enough flavor entirely on its own. Even for the Scotch-shy, I recommend enjoying these two fine expressions in a rocks glass, either straight or accompanied by nothing more than a splash of water or an ice cube to open up the bouquet. Let the malt speak for itself!

Below are my tasting notes for each spirit. Like them? Love them? Have a suggestion for another great Scotch for the tasting? Let us know about it in the comments section. Cheers, and here’s to some fantastic Scotch!

1797 Glen Garioch Founder’s Reserve Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 48% ABV

Sweet on the nose with hints of vanilla, butterscotch, caramel, and oak. A slight burn at first, but instantly calmed by dried fruit and a hint of marzipan. This is really tame on the nose with some honey notes. Vibrant and complex on entry, becoming soft and pleasant, with a lot of oak and more dried fruit on the palate. Slightly buttery with a touch of citrus, and a sweet and fresh finish. A really excellently crafted Scotch.

Glen Grant The Major’s Reserve Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 40% ABV

Instantly buttery and sweet on the nose, with some fantastic aromatics right from the get go. Vanilla and butterscotch are very apparent, with a hint of dried cherries. It doesn’t have as pronounced an aroma as most Scotches, which makes it quite different. On entry, there are notes of caramel and chocolate, as well as some spice. A noticeable but manageable amount of heat is also present. Slightly creamy with some strawberry jelly and a smooth, luxurious finish. Rich and full of flavor, I would drink this with one ice cube on a chilly winter night.

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