As the end of the year approaches a writers mind starts thinking about writing ‘whisky of the year’ type articles.
Now I am not usually one for those types of article, and this year is no different but it just so happens that my review of what I would have named as the best whisky I have tried this year has come to the top of the pile, so I thought I’d go along with it and here we are..
So, my whisky of the year? Gordon & MacPhail Rare Vintage Glen Grant 1966.
I had the pleasure of trying this whisky whilst judging at The Scottish Field Magazine Whisky Challenge. A competition that this whisky went on to do very well in, winning several categories including Top Independent Bottling, a Gold medal from the Readers Panel (In which I judged) and being awarded a Bronze medal in the Overall Grand Final.
My initial notes were part of a completely blind test on the day of judging, however slightly fortuitously I still had a decent sized sample left over and when the results were announced I decided to revisit it and take a second look to see if it was still as excellent as I remembered. As it turns out, it was.
Glen Grant distillery is located in the Speyside village of Rothes and is owned by Gruppo Campari. It has a capacity of 6.2 million litres per year.
This however is an independent bottling of Glen Grant from Gordon & MacPhail, a family owned and run private bottling firm with its roots firmly in Speyside.
Gordon & MacPhail Rare Vintage Glen Grant 1966, IB, 40%abv (available here)
The nose is sweet and quite light but with some darker, deeper notes buried deep within. Light brown sugar mixes with vanilla, rum & raisin and is all deliciously wrapped together with a slight hint of something reminiscient of furniture polish and a light, woody feeling.
The palate has elements of tobacco and some very light spices but also rhubarb crumble, melon and a light floral note. There is a beautiful, creamy feeling here with some deep vanilla infused butter filling the mouth before the spices and slightly nutty elements of the finish start to become more prominent.
There is a terrific soft apple note that is present right from the nose to the finish. The finish itself is short but fantastic. The perfectly balanced flavours just drift away gracefully leaving you wanting more.
Very drinkable and flavoursome with a light and fresh feeling throught, containing layers of darker flavours beneath.
As simple or as complex as you want it to be.