Glen Grant is a large distillery based in the heart of the Speyside region of Scotland. It is one of the world's best selling single malts and is particularly popular in Italy and southern Europe. The extensive range of whiskies has won multiple awards worldwide and continues to do so.
Glen Grant is known for its 'classic Speyside' style of single malt. This style is approachable with refreshing green orchard fruit such as apple and pear prominent.
This delicate style works particularly well with ex-bourbon barrels, which feature heavily in the line-up of the core range.
Glen Grant is a large distillery with a 6.2 million litre per year capacity. Water is taken from the Grant Burn, a tributary of the nearby River Spey. There is a huge 12.3 tonne mash tun, which currently completes 22 mashes per week. This feeds 10 wooden washbacks. These are made of Oregon pine and have a fermentation time of 48 hours. There are eight stills working in pairs. They have an unusual vertical sided shape at the base of the neck. This, coupled with each still having a purifier attached, is said to give Glen Grant its light and delicate style. The distillery also has its own bottling line, which was installed in 2013.
Glen Grant was founded in 1840 by two brothers, James and John Grant. The distillery is located in Rothes and is the oldest of four distilleries in the Speyside town. The others are Glenrothes (1878), Glen Spey (also 1878) and Speyburn (1897). A significant figure in Glen Grant's history was James Grant Jr. He was James' son and inherited the distillery after his father had died in 1872. His uncle John Grant had died a few years earlier in 1864.
James Jr. was known as 'The Major' and inspired a boom in production and sales of Glen Grant. He expanded the distillery and commissioned a Victorian garden in 1886. This covers a 20 acre site behind the distillery and stretches away up into the glen. Features included flowerbeds, formal lawns and orchards, plus a hidden waterfall. The gardens remain open for visitors today.
The Major was also built Glen Grant No.2 when the original distillery could not be expanded further. This was located opposite Glen Grant and was founded in 1897. However, it closed in 1902 and did not restart production until 1965. Then it was renamed Caperdonich and operated until 2002. It was then closed and the distillery buildings were demolished in 2010.
The Major died in 1931 and Glen Grant was inherited by another important figure - his grandson Major Douglas Mackessack. He oversaw further growth and expansion for almost 50 years, despite being a prisoner of war during World War II. He also worked with importer Armando Giovinetti to begin selling Glen Grant in Italy in 1961. This resulted in a boom in sales and led to the brand becoming the No.1 best selling Scotch whisky in Italy by the early 1970s.
Mackessack died in 1978 and the Grant family connection ended when the distillery was sold to Seagrams. Diageo and Pernod Ricard purchased Seagrams in 2001 and split the Scotch whisky assets. Glen Grant went to Chivas but was later sold to current owners Gruppo Campari in 2006. They purchased due to the brand's popularity in their native Italy.
Glen Grant is also home to a true Scotch whisky legend - Dennis Malcolm. He joined the distillery as an apprentice cooper in 1971 and now has over 50 years of service. Many of these have been as either Distillery Manager or in his current position of Master Distiller. He was recently awarded an OBE for services to the whisky industry in Scotland, which was presented by The Queen.