Monday, October 24, 2011

Opening THAT bottle – Grants Family Reserve

Grant's Family Reserve
So recently I posted a hint on how to dispose of your unwanted whisky. In that post you may have noticed I had a bottle of Grants Family Reserve in the background. Well sure enough that was the bottle I was disposing of but I thought it would not be fair unless I actually reviewed this at the same time.

For many if us there really is some whisky you try and avoid and more often than not it is the lower end blends. Ok so some people will rant on about how blends are just as good as a single malt and if it was not for blends then many a distillery would have went under well and truly before the mid 1900's which is well an true. In my experience and where this review is coming from I have had quite few exceptionally good blends but more often than not I have had exceptionally bad blends. This one unfortunately falls into the latter category. I think for many of us there is THAT bottle on the shelf we try to look past but sooner or later have to do something about it.

What I can say before I start though is that this is the bottom of the shelf for the Grant's family. There is 6 other expressions I have never seen on the Aussie shelves so I am actually quite keen to try them all as I do not think this is a great example of what is on offer.

If you are wondering about the bottle and how similar it is to Glenfiddich that is because William Grant founded both brands and to this day both brands still remain part of the William Grant & Son's company. The triangular bottle was introduced in 1957 and was designed by Hans Schleger. The bottle is designed to be distinctive, show off the contents and colour, be handled easily, retain durability against breakage, and ultimately optimise packaging. This is by far the most interesting thing about this product to me (being a graphic designer).

Grant's Blended Scotch Whisky – The Family Reserve
Alcohol: 40%
Location / Region: Dufftown Scotland
Owner: William Grant & Son's
Colour: Golden Amber

On the nose heaps of pears and the ever so slightness of smokey hay. In fact pears is near all I can smell which is quite amazing but you do have to draw hard to get past the alcohol which is rather intense burning in the nose and throat.

To taste is light fruits before a horribly intense burn on the tongue and upper pallet. I just cannot shake the tingles on the lips and tip of toughen before everything just goes numb. Very unpleasant.

The finish is hot and medium in length before a raising dryness that grates in the throat. I really cannot taste anything in the finish as my mouth has just been assaulted.

Overall balance is just odd. There is lightness everywhere but the alcohol burn is just awful. Most enjoyable thing was the pears at the start but it all went downhill after that. Grant's Family Reserve is a blend of no less than 25 single malt and grain whiskies so one would be expecting some additional complexity but I could not find it.

It did not improve with ice or whisky stones. On researching a bit on the Grant's website it is recommended an equal part water to whisky to release more flavour. Ouch! All I got was a really really watered down whisky.

If I was to give a dram then it would be 3 out of 7. I really hope to see improvement in the other expressions when and if I ever get to try them. Leave this one on the shelf or get started making your own Scottish Cream.

The Baron

3 comments:

  1. I struggle with lower-end blends also, with my final observation being they should really be tasted the way intended, drowned in either Coke or dry-ginger-ale at your local RSL. Let's face it, no one drinks these mongrel-whisky's neat. However, I applaud the D.T.W.C's dedication to whisky reviews.

    I also struggle with the grain-sweetness usually found in these blends. Nonetheless, glad you took this bullet Das Baron, one less whisky I need to labour through...

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  2. After posting this review I thought to to have a quick read of Jim Murry's review in my 2010 Whisky Bible where he has rated it 94 out of 100.

    Extract from page 253 Jim Murry's Whisky Bible 2010:
    "...the perfect nose to any blend: harmonious and faultless", "...so clean and complex", "...it defies the odds for quality", "It is the daily dram that has everything".

    Truly this can be taken as an indication never to take one persons word on how they taste whisky. Just because I said I did not like it does not mean you won't. I hope this comes a good note to always give something a try regardless of what someone says positive or negative.

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    1. Takes about 5-6 nosings and just about as many ounces to see what Jim Murray is trying to say. I had the same feedback in the beginning until different 5-6 tastings. For the money it is one of the better blended Scotches that can be found everywhere, Teacher's Highland Cream, Black Bottle and Monkey Shoulder is better if you can find them locally !

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