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I picked up a bottle of Grant’s very reluctantly in 2005 after reading Jim Murray’s praise for the blend. I was very board by it at the time. But over the years I keep coming back to it (I always like to keep at least one blend around). My wife’s favorite drink is a Blood and Sand. Her favorite scotch for said cocktail is Lagavulin 16yo . . . which got old and expensive really fast! So I switched her to a blend. And the blend we keep coming back to is this bottle of Grant’s. Don’t be fooled: I have found dramatic batch variation – even in a blend! Some batches have more peat, some are more fruity. Personally, I prefer the ones with more peat (they can be more peaty then current batches of White Horse). My general score ranges from 82-85 over 6 different batches. I find that quite consistent in quality. Here are notes for an 83 score night.
Nose: Fruity on the front with peaches, apples, and pears at the fore. Then there is some creaminess with a bit of that grain smell and some apple cider vinegar. Butter, grain, and sweet malt linger in the background. It then shifts into a different gear with honey, vanilla, and a bit of smoke. Over all very enjoyable.
Taste: Soft and fruity with a creamy mouth feel with apples, pears and lemons. Limes, butter, grass, and honey. Pleasant sweetness that isn’t overly sweet but certainly sweeter then JW Black 12yo.
Finish: Lemon grassy with a bit of flair resolving into a nice low and slow burn. The waves are very low and come back to surprise you. Definitely delicate with a big pop of sweet sherry that resolves to honey. A little spicy kick with some malt, orange zest and a hint of smoked honey that fades to a medium finish (long for a blend)
Complexity, Balance: A very well balanced blend that mingles the grass, velvety butter, and citrus (limes, oranges, and a bit of lemon) together with a hint of sweet sherry. Quite complex in the nose with acceptable complexity on the taste, then back to better then average complexity on the finish. It is really well balanced across the board (nose to finish). Nothing really stands out, takes over, falls flat or is off.
Aesthetic experience: I love the price and the name. I don’t love the bottle shape or the red label. Nor do I like the 40% ABV. The consistency is all over the map on this one; some batches are smoky while others are fruity. However, it does stay consistently good for the money.
Conclusion: Really my staple blend I like to have around. I keep trying others, but for the money it is really hard to be the quality of Grant’s . . . maybe not the consistency . . . but the quality is always there.