Grant's is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, and some would say one of the best. William Grant has produced whisky since 1887; the company is still a family concern. The company has seen a lot of ups and downs, and after the Great War, when prohibition affected sales, he actually increased production. He was so far-sighted that he could foresee the end of the prohibition era, and knew sales were going to increase for many years. When it looked like prohibition would be finally abolished, all the distilleries started gearing up for this new market, Grant's warehouses at this time were already full, which brought massive profits and ensured the company's fututre for many years to come.
Grant's produces a large variety of whiskies, including single malts and a range of blended whisky. I am a great fan of the family reserve, and would say this was a mainstay of their production. Family reserve is pretty average in terms of strength of 40% ABV (alcohol by volume) and the clear glass bottles hold the typical 70 centilitres. The bottles are made especially for the company, and have the Grant's name and coat of arms moulded in the three-sided glass.
The smell of this whisky is rather typical, you can sense the alcohol, and there are also other odours reminiscent of fruit, especially apples and pears. The smell lingers on your nostrils long enough to be taken over by the taste, this is a rather nice experience. The taste buds are first hit by a strong rich flavour, which then changes to various fruity and rather sweet tastes. There is a lovely warm afterglow, which lasts until you have another sip.
It is widely recommended by whisky experts that you should drink a small amount, with an equal measure of water added, this brings out the flavour, apparently. Ice is very bad in whisky, it closes your taste buds. I would also be very selective when it comes to other additives. Ginger is fine, lemonade too, but there are many cordials and fizzy concoctions that will destroy the subtle flavour of any whisky.
The spirit is still distilled in the old copper stills, copper is essential to this industry as it imparts character and sweetness to the spirit. The finished spirit is then stored in old oak barrels for a minimum of three years, before it can legally be called whisky. These barrels were previously used for sherry, and the clear spirit gains colour and flavour during storage.
I have not quoted prices, but will just add that the cheapest I have seen this, was £13.99, a bargain if you can find it near you.
I hope you enjoyed this review of Grant's family reserve, if so treat yourself to a "wee dram" to celebrate