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Grant's Family Reserve

Average score from 13 reviews and 16 ratings 73

Grant's Family Reserve

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Grant's Family Reserve

I don’t know when I bought this or when I opened it. I learned about it through Ralfy’s videos so quite possibly in 2011 or 2012, and I probably opened it around that time (my database for opening dates is only about 5 years old).

Clearly I didn’t think much of it since a 200 cc bottle, open 6-7 years, is still 2/3 full. I have no idea if I gassed it or not. I’ve been wanting to review it for years but never got around to it.

This expression, in a standard Glencairn, is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.

Nose: 18/25

Weak nose. Some caramel? Some fruit. One of the weakest noses I have experienced in some time.

Taste: 16/25

Thin and weak. Slightly effervescent, some vanilla. Not much else. More flavour with water, but it’s not pleasant.

Finish: 19/25

Short, unremarkable.

Balance: 19/25

There’s nothing really there to balance.

Score: Neat - 72/100 With Water: 72/100

I’m sure it must have been better when I opened it, but probably not much. Lambertus, it’s not. Does anyone want what’s left or shall I dump it?

@Nozinan I'd like to taste from your bottle because all of the Grants Family Reserve I have had has been much much better than your impressions of your bottle.


A ubiquitous blended whisky. It's inexpensive, fairly neutral and, as one person (perhaps it was @Victor) put it, a "universal solvent". Grant's Family Reserve is inexpensive and does exactly what you think: it's useful for making an Old Fashioned, a Rusty Nail, a Godfather, a Rob Roy or whatever else you fancy. It's also decent-ish for sipping neat or with a bit of water.

The nose was a little off-putting at first. There was a strong nail-polish remover (acetone?) component that had to be left to calm down. I didn't think blended whisky needed to sit and "open up" as much as malt whisky, but it appears I was wrong. After 10-15 minutes, the nose was fairly straightforward: dried fruit (raisins and prunes mostly), toffee and cereal.

In the mouth, Grant's was ok. Nothing fantastic, but a budget blend rarely blows you away. Sherry-type notes were present, a little vanilla, not much else.

The finish was more of the same with a young grain whisky (cereal-ish?) ending.

Grant's Family Reserve met my expectations for a budget blended whisky.

I didn't like my bottle of Grant's Family Reserve when I first opened it.

You might be surprised by it down the road.

After not liking my own bottle of Grant's at first, I now like it better than the majority of single malts that I encounter.

@Victor My bottle has now been open for about 2 weeks and you're right; it's better. There's more toffee to it now and the balance is a bit better.


This whisky comes in a triangular bottle (in cross section), and bears all the hall marks of Glenfiddich so I assume this is the same William Grants and Sons responsible for the single malt.

A pale coloured liquor with very little viscosity comes out of the bottle, the aroma is light with a vanilla theme supported very faintly by some apple, dried fruit and white wine but they take some finding. That being said the aroma is this whisky’s strongest suite.

On the palate it’s very thin, no actually watery. A slightly bitter tang unfortunately takes the lead in terms of flavours with some grassy freshness and vanilla on the undercard. The less said about the finish the better, very short and forgettable although there is no bad aftertaste. It has the decency to leave and not remind one of its passing.

@Uisgebetha, I have no doubt whatsover that your bottle could be very different than what I have drunk of Grant's Family Reserve, or that your experience with any whisky could be very different from my, or you own, experience of that same whisky at any other time from another bottle. I have drunk from quite a few bottles which I would have had a hard time to equate my experience with,...with bottles of whisk(e)y I have had MYSELF with the same name on the labels.

There are bad batches, and bad bottles, some huge batch variations, and sometimes huge differces after some air time.

What I am saying here is that all of these experiences are out there to be experienced, if you try the same branded whisky repeatedly, from different batches and different bottles. The whisky industry attempts to attain consistency in flavours and quality. My experience is that it succeeds in that only part of the time.

And it is not just "good" whisky that has the occasional "bad" batch. "Bad" whisky can get a really "good" batch now and then. I have not usually liked (at all) Johnnie Walker Red Label or Jack Daniels Old No. 7, but I have had some of each that I did like...from the occasional "good" batch. It was most definitely not my mood which was different. The whiskey tasted VERY different.

Uisgebetha: is this your review of Grant's Family Reserve ? I know Jim Murray rated the GFR very high, and others seem to enjoy it too. But I can honestly say it has been one of the worse whiskies I have ever tasted. I struggled to consume it over nearly a year. Adding water did not help. Decanting for various periods of time did not help. Combination of water and decanting failed too. Tried vatting with other whiskies and while slightly more tolerable, it represented a waste of those much better whiskies. In the end, I ended up giving what I had left away. Perhaps I got an exceptionally bad bottle. But the bad taste still lingers, and I am not willing to buy another bottle to find out.


Nose - It's reserved. Soft apple, vanilla, and creamy butter. Fruity creaminess. Can't put my finger on it. The closest I can come up with is banana flavoring that you find in certain foods.

Palate - Delicate, yet thick'ish, and well rounded creamy arrival, clean and smooth through out. Very smooth. This is creamier then Teacher's Highland Cream. No peat in sight however, this is a full, soft sided Speyside'r. A little restrained/reserved in the palate. Is this why they called it 'reserved'? ;)

Finish - Non existent really. Comes and goes and nothing much is left.

Conclusion - A nice well priced blend. I picked up the wrong bottle (size) by accident, however I may just replace this one once its gone. Tasty sipper and extremely smooth for the price. I can see this one being perfect for something over the rocks, neat, or with water. Can't go wrong here. Perfect for any time of the year. Very much recommended.

I'm gonna give it an 80 as a blend mark.


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.

@Nock , like you, the Grant's Family Reserve I have tasted has all been quite good. I do not doubt, though, that others have had experiences of bottles or batches of lesser quality than those which we have tasted.

What you and I have tasted is what I like to call "the universal solvent", because it tends to blend well with leftovers from whatever source.

I'll bet that if Grant's were sold at 60% ABV instead of 40% ABV that your score would be up around 90 points, instead of 83.

@Nock I have been holding off on stocking up on Grant's too. Too many bottles are floating around this house already. And, as you say, I will probably have a good while to change my mind before they all disappear.


Before I was reviewing this classic blend I was trying out some similar easy going blends like Vat69, Bushmills and Famous Grouse. They all possess some unique features and so does this stereotypic blend. As it's blended by Grant's I was looking for some fiddich in there but I'm sad to say I'm still looking. The nose was quite a shock for me with aerosol spray cans, aceton, basically hairspray. Not a very pleasing start that's for sure. After letting the whisky settle for a couple of minutes you at least start to pick other things as well like yeast, grapes and caramell. The whisky is very dyed and is at least a couple of tones browner then my other blends. Tastewise it's just as off balance as the nose. Bitter oak with hints of malty sugar. The finish is like someone locking you in the sawmill, long and woody with some dry aftertaste of bitter sour oak. The big question is how can this be one of the best selling whiskies of all time? Hopefully I just had some bad luck with this bottle but I really expected more from the master crafters of Glenfiddich.


Don't be fooled by the price, Grant's Family Reserve is a great, complex and well balanced whiskey.

The Nose: You can smell the barrel from which it came, oak. Tangy molasses, a cloud of sucre a la creme and then candied smoked bacon to to seduce you a little bit.

The Palate: Gentle with melted confectioners' sugar. Dry Maplewood with candied sap. A film of smoke, sadly the bacon stayed behind. Honey dew melon.

Body: Light with beaded oil

To Finish: A burning honey dew scented candle. Fades away efficiently.

I keep this scotch in a decanter at home. It is inviting after a long day and sets up a comforting ritual. I don't feel like it needs to be announced. Unlabelled and ready for the eye. And for the price, it's easy to keep it readily available.

Grants FR has always had a special place in my heart. They move massive quantities of this in Cameroon and it is the "peoples" whisky of choice over more marketed competitors. It is inexpensive (equilvalent to $18 USD/750 ml) and you can also find oversized bottles (4.5 L) to serve during the holiday season.

Completely agree with your feelings about Grant's FR. I tried this bottle for the first time a few months ago and just fell in love with it! Has definitely become one of my favorite go-to drams.


nose: very fruity, notes of prune, apricots, citrus touch, banana, baked apples, american oak, nice malt feeling, there is a very remote and minimal resemblance of peat/smoke. all in all quite strong and interesting aromas for a really affordable blend like this.

taste: some caramel and malty feeling, fresh fruits, banana, but quite one dimensional with a meaty undertone.

finish: very poor finish, disappears very quickly, after some seconds some standard malty/grainy bitterness comes through.

summary: to the nose this blend promises a lot, but after having tried it, it reveals a very poor body and character. gentle and convincing to the nose, taste-wise quite boring and a poor finish. the famous grouse has a more diluted feeling to the nose and isn't such intense and aromatic to the nose like this blend but overall delivers a more balanced performance. surely good for mixing and drinking on the rocks at some easy drinking partiy. bought for 8,99 euros - a very economic blend.

Maybe an 82? I can't complain for this price and it's totally alright for the money!

There is a lot of marmalade and apricots in there, very sweet, also a sort of strange protein/umami feeling, but taste-wise it still has a strong alcohol note and rather sharp and quickly disappearing aromas. For me the FG gives me a more balanced and an overall smoother sensation of higher quality than Grant's.

Everyone has different tastes and influences. I grew up in an area with a lot of wine and grappa and lots of different clear distillates, so I prefer whiskies with a solid distillation process and standard cask maturation, simple and clear. I personally don't like this strong sherry notes or heavy american oak notes in malts. It's nice for finishing and adding some depth to whiskies, but for me it often outbalances them. It gives them a "liqueur" touch making them to sweet. At a certain age of sherry maturation it isn't a distillate (aqua vitae) anymore for me, but rather a liqueur. But for vin santo, marsala and sherry and so on fans it's obviously heaven! A quality distillate with ex bourbon cask maturation and just a touch of fortified wine is okay for me! I wouldn't be surprised if some blend masters or distillery managers add some chopped wood or liquid sherry to their blends/whiskies to give them more pep! Sacrilegious words!! :)

Tomba, I was disappointed to read your relatively low rating of Grant's Family Reserve!

I have become quite the fan of this budget blend recently and would certainly give it higher than a 74. For me, the nose is really a big reason why I enjoy this bottle. I can sit with a glass and just enjoy the aromas for a good half hour before even taking a sip. I wouldn't disagree with you regarding the finish, but personally when enjoying a budget blend I never really expect a lot when it comes to the finish.

Oh well! I guess that's the great thing about whisky and people's palates... everyone has their own opinion! Great review. Thanks.


An entry level whisky, it doesn't have massive complexity or delicacy but its very decent, enjoyable and accessible blend.

  • Nose: honey, grassy notes some caramel and plenty of barley sugar. With water caramel really comes through with buttery note as well, a grape note is there too, grassy notes really quieten down which is a shame.

  • Pallet: barley sweet comes through first, nice light body, loads of fruitiness that didn’t come through from the nose, some more caramel moves quickly across the pallet. With water ever sweeter and lighter, but all the elements are still there

  • Finish: little spicy which livens things up, caramel plays a more prominent role here, good length too. With water slightly sharper, more citrus then the neat elements, but the finish is a bit dryer with water (about a teaspoon for me)

  • Mark – neat 8, with water 8

Overall: it doesn't get a massive mark but its a really solid dram. occasionally its nice to have an "easy" dram rather than really thinking and concentrating on a more challenging malt. Really good stuff

Have you tried either of the other Grant's Reserve bottlings (the Ale Cask and Sherry Cask)?


im afraid not, havent actually seen them around alot now i think about it.


In the coming week I will be focusing on releases from Glen Grant, the famous distillery in the heart of Speyside. Before trying their single malts, let us prep the tastebuds with this Grant’s Family Reserve, their popular and cheap blend. A recent bottling in fact, the older ones I tried were not to my liking.

The nose starts of closed and slightly metallic with even some butane gas. Ouch. Some gooseberries and pineapple, but it is hard work to find it. Very malty. I am not impressed.

The attack is very watery, a tiny bit spicy and somewhat sweet. But I cannot get the idea of lukewarm lager out of my head. Underwhelming.

The finish is mercifully short.

This tasted even worse than the older bottlings I tried. Either there was something terribly wrong with my sample or else this bottle is best left alone.


Colour: gold

Body: medium, sticky

Nose: moderate wine flavours from the start, with honey and ripened barley to follow. Next to arrive are echoes of the oak, and a hint of peat. Very nice

Taste: strong flavours of wine, quite sweet, nice barley-malt grain flavours, a little licorice, and some peat. Delicious. The flavours were good at first bottle opening, but became much more robust after the bottle was open a couple of months

Finish: long and strong. The malty grain flavours exit the stage before the wine and peat flavours

Balance: the parts harmonise together well. The flavours are quite strong for 40% ABV whisky. As an inexpensive "standard" blend, I find William Grant's The Family Reserve to be quite remarkably good. It holds its own for flavours and sophistication not only among 'standard blends', but among all whiskies, including those much older and more expensive

I had some of this recently while on a family vacation since my relatives picked up a bottle of it. I was pleasantly surprised. I would like to try the sherry or ale cask finishes, 12 year old as well, but I thought they were not available in the United States. Sadly I think some of the more obscure blended scotches never make it outside their home market, i.e., the UK.

Good review, have you tried the sherry cask or ale cask finish versions of this


Colour: Pale golden straw. Body: Thin long legs down the glass. Nose: Winey, vanilla, orrange zest, water added: mandarin, marmelade. Taste: spice, toffe, honey, a bit of smoke. Water added: Spice diluted,grain sweetness shines through. Finish: Long, spicy, sweet and at the very end slightly bitter aftertaste.


I stopped at the LCBO today to replenish my stock with two Scotches I hadn't tried before (the other is the Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban). This is one of them, a pleasant but complex whiskey. Floral nose with honey, rather oily on the palate but tastes of grass, banana, malt, vanilla and honey. Long and smooth finish. Nothing exceptional but a very solid everyday Scotch.

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