It’s tough to find any information on the Glen Grant Arboralis. Like, what in the hell even is Arboralis? The distillery’s website offers no solution, which doesn’t seem to have changed much since I used it to book a tour in 2013. The interwebs isn’t much of a resource either. It’s almost as if Glen Grant just sort of released it. “There you go, now let’s wait to see if anybody likes it.”
Luckily there’s one country that seems to have gotten a proper launch: Australia. Slivers of it made it online, the most comprehensive details published by The Whisky List, who actually sat down with Master Distiller Dennis Malcom last year. As it turns out the Glen Grant Arboralis has been create to celebrate the distillery’s 180-year history. Which is funny, because I’d think you’d launch such a whisky with a little more fanfare.
But, you know, that’s just me. Glen Grant mostly seems to operate under the radar. The most publicity they get is when Jim Murray gives them high marks in his Whisky Bible. He does this each year without fail. Which makes me wonder how he rated the Arboralis (if he did at all). But alas, I don’t have a copy within reach.
Back to Dennis Malcolm, who described the Arboralis to The Whisky List as follows: “Our new single malt in the Glen Grant range, the Arboralis is something very unique and I’ve had a great pleasure working with the team in crafting. A single malt created by marrying whisky aged in former ex-bourbon and Spanish sherry oak casks. We still use our traditional dunnage warehouses to age our casks.”
Okay, sure, not very inspiring. That description fits almost any NAS whisky. Finally then, what is Arboralis? Well, quite simply, it supposedly means light from within threes. Call it an hommage to the importance of oak maturation.
Glen Grant Arboralis (40%, OB, 2020)
Nose: Light, fresh and slightly chalky with notes of honey, banana peel and a smidge of hay, as well as some vanilla custard. Taste: Rather a thin mouthfeel, which is no surprise considering the abv. Peanut skins, slightly bitter and soft fruits. Somewhat reminiscent of a blonde ale. Finish: Soft spices and a gentle maltiness. Short to medium in length.
Perfectly fine and I can't find much to fault. Then again, the Glen Grant Arboralis doesn't offer much in the way of depth. A decent, summery dram that might just work very well in a highball.