Edinburgh will always have a special place in my heart: it wasn’t just where DBS & I spent our honeymoon, but where I first fell in love with whisky. So it seemed fitting that on a recent trip we held a little whisky tasting. Our setting, perhaps somewhat unconventionally, was Carlton Hill, towering above the city. This windswept location is home to the Nelson Monument and the Observatory.
On a particularly windy lunchtime DBS & I made the climb up the hill to find a secluded spot on which to try two whiskies; the drams of choice being Grant’s Ale and Grant’s Sherry casks.
Regular readers may remember my review of the Grant’s Odyssey Liqueur, which can be found here. In response, Grant’s were kind enough to send me some miniature bottles of these two whiskies; the perfect size to fit in a travel case!
Grant’s Ale Cask
Despite being atop the windy hill in Edinburgh, I could easily make out the savoury start to this whisky’s nose; it then faded into a distinctive maltiness with a syrupy smooth edge. I also got some hints of straw and a bourbon-like, slightly orangey sweetness.
On the tongue, it was very savoury, with hints of grain and a definite dryness, followed by a woody finish. DBS noted that it was “less smokey and more charred”, which I agreed with.
Grant’s Sherry Cask
This whisky had a similar sweet edge to the other one, with a woody centre to it. It was also considerably more fruity on the nose, although the fruitness was notably dry, reminding me of red fruits like cranberries or slightly sour cherries. Maybe it was the strong, Edinburgh breeze, but I thought that it was a quite soft nose.
It was silky on the tongue, with a lovely, woody sweetness. I found it to be warmer than the ale cask. The finish was dry, even more so than the previous one; my mouth was drawn in slightly after each sip, making me want to keep drinking it. There wasn’t any smoke, just a dry, woody centre with a pepperiness about the edges and hints of tobacco towards the end.
Upon our return, I discovered that DBS’ parents had a bottle of Grant’s Original and so on a recent trip to the in-laws, I tried this, too, in the name of completion.
It was very silky over the tongue, with oaky wood nearly immediately appearing at the back of my mouth. After a few seconds, there was a general, woody smokiness and a good amount of warmth. The finish was savoury – almost salty. I thought this would be a good whisky to try in an autumnal toddy, as it had the perfect nose for it, whilst not being overly sweet to taste.
My favourite of the whiskies was the sherry cask finish, with its dry, fruity nose and woody centre, whilst DBS preferred the ale cask finish. Fortunately, this meant that we both got to finish off our favourites on the walk back down the hill to Edinburgh!
I was impressed by the simple, wood-focused flavours of all of the Grant’s whiskies and liked how dry they were, whilst still remaining smooth on the tongue. I’m sure we will be experimenting with them more over the coming weeks, as I suspect that their full, but straight-forward flavours would make them perfect for a range of toddies.