Glen Grant 1948 70 Years Old (Gordon & MacPhail)
It is not uncommon for me to taste whiskies that were produced before I was born. I’m from 1985 (a horrible vintage in terms of whisky), and it is not that hard to source samples from whisky distilled before my lifetime. However, today I’ll be reviewing a whisky that was made even before my father was born. Come to think of it, my grandmother was only eleven (!) years old when this spirit was filled into the cask. That’s incredible.
The Glen Grant 1948 from Gordon & MacPhail is one of the oldest whiskies ever bottled, produced during a time when barley restrictions due to the Second World War were still in place. After 70 years of maturation, there’s was still enough liquid left to bottle 210 decanters, at a very respectable strength.
Glen Grant 1948 70 Years Old (48.6%, Gordon & MacPhail, C#2154)
Nose: Quite herbacious and somewhat industrial, with whispers of soot and diesel oil, as well as a whiff of earthy peat and smoke. It has a subtle floral side too, but it has a hard time standing up to notes of licorice, menthol and mushrooms, as well as soy sauce and furniture polish. There’s touches of salted caramel, honey, toasted oak and orange peel too. Elegant, beautifully complex and wonderfully balanced.
Taste: A good amount of dark caramel and cigar tobacco, accompanied by notes of mocha and menthol. Maybe even a whiff of peat smoke. Oranges (of the fairly acidic variety) as well as earl grey tea and shoe wax. A whisper of aceto balsamico too.
Finish: Lingering aniseed, orange liqueur and tobacco, with finally a whisper of cocoa powder. Medium in length.
Major points for complexity on the nose. Regardless of age, this is a style of whisky that’s currently not made anymore. The industrial side of it is truly remarkable.
Sample provided by Gordon & MacPhail
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.