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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Glen Grant 35 year old 1970 Lonach

Remember that time I hosted that private epic whisky event in The Valley? Of course you do. From that event I escaped with a one ounce vial of 35 year old Glen Grant. I have a lot of Glen Grant samples, but only five actual reviews of that single malt. So there will be a Glen Grant week or month in 2020, probably.

Compared to Monday's Inchgower, this specific Speyside is on the other side of the ABV world, specifically 41.8%abv. Lonach seems to have been the label for Duncan Taylor casks that were about to fall underproof and/or a chance to blend underproof old whisky with enough legal whisky to bring the abv up to 40%. In hindsight, Lonach prices were CRAYZAY, often providing an opportunity to buy 40 year old whisky for $100. Glendarroch, anyone? I have no idea if these whiskies were any good, but they did have wonderfully swole age statements. Today's Glen Grant is one of the earlier Lonach releases (the ones with a sepia photo mid-label) from back in 2005.

Distillery: Glen Grant
Bottler: Duncan Taylor
Brand: Lonach
Region: Speyside (Rothes)
Age: 35 years (1970 - 2005)
Maturation: "Oak Cask" (helpful!)
Alcohol by Volume: 41.8%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Coloring? No

The nose is musty, dusty and fusty, like me! Damp basements, machine shops and crumbling wet logs. There's also a stone fruit note (yellow and red plums) beneath that layer, and it expands with time. Rye bread, eucalyptus and a hint of Good 'n Plenty candy. It's still humming along after 45 minutes. The palate is similar to the nose, with half the mustiness, and with louder fruits (now with oranges!). Mild sweetness and an impressively minimal vanilla note. A pleasantly spicy zip and a hint of bitterness. It's all citrus, baking spices and mint leaves after 45 minutes. The finish is the cleanest part. Sweet and tart fruits and menthol, with hints of salt and bitterness. Just a hint of tannins along its moderate length.

Of this week's three whiskies, this Glen Grant with its very low ABV was assigned my lowest expectations. And yet it delivered a good surprise, countering Monday's mess. This 35yo was all in balance, carrying just the right amount of sweets, spice and bitterness. It doesn't wow, but it does deliver. It's certainly a bottle to open and enjoy in the spring or summer, if you were wise enough to pick it up back in the day. Perhaps I shouldn't underestimate well-aged Glen Grant.

Availability - ???
Pricing - ???
Rating - 87