11 May 2011

Grant's 18 Year Old "A Big Bold Bountiful Blend"

Apart from continued increases in alcohol duty care of her majesty’s government, there’s one other issue that’s always guaranteed to rattle my whisky cage, and that’s the bigoted act of blend bashing.

Now there’s nothing I can do with regards to my first listed gripe, but I can certainly try and help to put the final nail in the coffin of those blended misconceptions, and hope we can bury them once and for all.

Blended whiskies are and always will be the ‘bread and butter’ of the industry. Infact single malt whiskies only really came of age as it were during the late 1970’s. Up until that point and indeed still right up to this very day, blends have always accounted for well over 90% of all Scotch whisky sales.

There is no quality differential between single malts and blends, the latter is just a glorious gaggle of single malts married and balanced together with a complementive clutch-ette of grain whiskies. More often than not the addition of grain adds a whole new level of depth and dimensions to a blend.

There is a magnificent multitude of bountiful blends on the market, from long established brands, independent bottlers and even a few recreations from forgotten drams of the past. So let’s celebrate and embrace the marvel of the malt and the glory of the grain and let’s hear it for the blends!

Recently I was very fortunate in being able to sample the Grant’s 18 year old, which is from a range of blended whiskies that I have to say is of very high quality right across the board. Catering for all drammers no matter how little or long they have been travelling along their own personal whisky trail.

The nose kicks off with wallowing whiffs of a cigar infused smoking jacket hanging over the side of a leather wing tipped armchair situated in an oak panelled study that has a distinct lack of ventilation.

Port soaked dry fruits make for the next set of sensations, along with some freshly chopped apricots and the seductive swirling sensations of vanilla, mace, cinnamon bark and a hint of pimento.

A calming warm wave of caramel then lashes gently over some toasted walnuts, followed by an infusion of lemongrass and a puff-ette of smoke from a menthol cigarette.

The palate though lighter than you would of expected from the nose, continues to satisfy the senses. There’s some serious dried fruit and nut action going on, led by an army of plumped up raisins, this time soaking in something rather Sauternes-esque.

A subtle glug-ette of heathery honey infused by a wealth of toasted winter spices makes for the next set of sensations, along with a subtle hint of Turkish delight, a nip of damp musk and a handfull of destoned black cherries.

Confident infused waves of sweet aged oak then dance toe to toe with some very precarious and less confident vanilla notes. But between them they pull off the last dance of the night, before a rather lingering sensation of Dentyne cinnamon chewing gum kicks in and leads the finish.