A FADED CARAMEL color with light legs, Grant doesn’t cut an especially attractive figure in the glass. Yet it makes up for this deficiency where it counts with generous aromas and layers of flavor a cut above boilerplate blends. The nose opens sweetly, carrying more banana and vanilla than grain, but further on develops notes of heather, oak, baking spice, and a bit of peat. On the palate it is lively and young, with its barrel woodiness tingling powerfully towards the front of the mouth. Yet its flavors are well-proportioned and, being largely from Speyside, the blend maintains a smooth character overall. Some pear emerges towards its conclusion before a spicy citrus warmth akin to honey lemon tea that slides down easily along with a little hint of Speyside’s soft water.
More engaging than Johnnie Walker Red and cheaper besides, William Grant is also the largest independent distiller in Scotland. Only third behind international conglomerates Diageo and Pernod Ricard, they also produce a number of other spirits including the estimable Hendrick’s Gin and this one little brand of malt called Glenfiddich. Slainte to independence.