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GLEN GRANT   11  years old  52,3 %   INFO       
Date Distilled Apr 79
Date Bottled Aug 92
Society Cask No. 9.6
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society,
The Vaults, Leith, Edinburgh

GLEN GRANT   5 years old 40 %    INFO        
DISTILLED 1986
Bottled:1991
Glen Grant Distillery Company,
Edinburgh and Rothes

GLEN GRANT   5 years old 40 %      INFO      
DISTILLED 1987
Bottled: 1992
Glen Grant Distillery Company,
Edinburgh and Rothes

GLEN GRANT   geen leeftijd vermelding 40 %     INFO
Glen Grant Distillery Company,
Edinburgh and Rothes
Clear Colour - Pure Malt


GLEN GRANT   30 years old 45 %     INFO   
From The Heath Covered Mountains
of Scotia I Come
150th  ANNIVESARY  RESERVE
Genummerde flessen
1200 bottles
J. & J. Grant, Glen Grant Distillery, Rothes

GLEN GRANT   11 years old 43 %               
THE ULTIMATE SINGLE MALT
SCOTCH WHISKY SELECTION
Distilled  22.10.84
Bottled 7.96
Cask no.   4016
302 Genummerde flessen
Van Wees, Holland

GLEN GRANT   13 years  old  55,1%             
CADENHEAD'S
AUTHENTIC COLLECTION
Cask Strenght
Distilled February  1980
Bottled November  1993
Not Diluted
No Chill Filtration
No additives
No Colouring
Wm. Cadenhead, 32 Unionstreet,
Campbeltown

GLEN GRANT  23 years old 55,8 %               
VINTAGE 1972
Matured in sherry casks
Distilled 27.1.72
Bottled 7.95
Butt no. 689
240 Genummerde flessen
Signatory Vintage
Scotch Whisky Co, Ltd, Edinburgh

GLEN GRANT  30 years old 51,8 %                  
VINTAGE 1967
LAST BOTTLE AND EMPTY
Matured in sherry casks
Distilled 10.4.67
Bottled 8.5.97
Cask No. 2390
248 Genummerde flessen
Signatory Vintage
Scotch Whisky Co, Ltd, Edinburgh
GLEN GRANT   10 years old 40 %                   
From The Heath Covered Mountains
of Scotia I Come
Matured in sherry casks
Glen Grant Distillery, Rothes

GLEN GRANT   34 years old 40 %                
From The Heath Covered Mountains
of Scotia I Come
Distilled 1963
Bottled 1997
J. & J. Grant, Glen Grant Distillery, Rothes
Gordon & Macphail, Elgin

GLEN GRANT   31 years old 56,9 %  INFO        
Matured in Sherry Cask
Distilled: 2/1969
Bottled: 11/2000
240 Numbered Bottles
The Whisky Exchange

GLEN GRANT  21 years old 40 %                
From The Heath Covered Mountains
of Scotia I Come
J. & J. Grant, Glen Grant Distillery, Rothes
Gordon & Macphail, Elgin

GLEN  GRANT     DISTILLED  1 9 8 9    40 %                        
HIGHLAND  MALT  SCOTCH  WHISKY
From The Heath Covered Mountains of Scotia I come
J & J Grant of Glen Grant Distillery
Bottled 2002
Distilled & Bottled in Scotland
Bottled by Gordon & Macphail, Elgin

GLEN  GRANT  170th  ANNIVERSARY   46 %
1 8 4 0  -  2 0 1 0
Unique  Selection  of  the Finest  Vintages
Glen Grant Distillery, Rothes

GLEN  GRANT   Aged  41 Years  46.9 %   INFO
SIGNATORY  VINTAGE
CASK  STRENGHT  COLLECTION
Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Distilled on: 06/02/1967
Matured in a Sherry Hogshead
Cask No: 868
Bottled on: 28/10/2008
Numbered Bottles
197 Bottles
Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky Co, Ltd, Pitlochry

GLEN  GRANT  Aged  16 years  54.0 %  INFO
SINGLE  CASK  SCOTCH  
MALT  WHISKY
Date Distilled: April 1991
Cask Type: Refill Hogshead
Date Bottled: Jan.08
Outturn: 245 Bottles
Society Cask  9.41
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society,
The Vaults, Leith, Edinburgh
Deceptive

GLEN  GRANT  Aged  16 years  57.8 % INFO
SINGLE  CASK  SCOTCH
MALT  WHISKY
Date Distilled: April 1991
Cask Type: Refill Hogshead
Date Bottled: Feb. 08
Outturn: 251 Bottles
Society Cask: 9.42
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society,
The Vaults, Leith, Edinburgh
Fragrant and relaxing

GLEN  GRANT 48 years old  45 %
GORDON  &  MACPHAIL
PRIVATE  COLLECTION
SINGLE  MALT  SCOTCH
WHISKY
SPEYSIDE  1 9 5 3
from GLEN  GRANT  DISTILLERY
A Rare and Exclusive Bottling
from
THE  DIRECTORS  PRIVATE  
COLLECTION
Distilled: 16/04/5
Matured in a
1st Fill Sherry Hogshead
Cask Nos: 1860 & 1864
Bottled August 2001
Numbered bottles
Signed by the director: Ian Urquhart
Specially Matured and Bottled by
Gordon & Macphail, Elgin

GLEN  GRANT   1 7 0th  ANNIVERSARY   46 %
1 8 4 0  -  2 0 1 0
Unique  Selection  of  the Finest  Vintages
Glen Grant Distillery, Rothes

GLEN  GRANT      1 9 7 2
Aged 38 years  53.20 %           
CASK  STRENGHT  RARE
AULD  SCOTCH  WHISKY
Duncan Taylor
Unique Whiskies of Distinction
Fons et Origo
Est. 1938
D T C
Region: Speyside Scotch Whisky
Date distilled: 02.1972
Cask no: 1654
Date bottled: 02.2011
150 Numbered Bottles
No Chill Filtering or Colouring of any Kind
Duncan Taylor, Huntly, Aberdeenashire


GLEN  GRANT
VINTAGE  1 9 9 2
21  years old  46 %                                 
THE  ULTIMATE  SINGLE  MALT
SCOTCH  WHISKY
Speyside Single Malt
Distilled: 22/04/92
Matured in a Hogshead
Cask no: 55419
Bottled: 06/05/15
262 Numbered Bottles
Natural Colour
Non Chillfiltered
Selected by The Ultimate Whisky Company.NL

Highland Malt
GLEN GRANT  (1840  also see Caperdonich

Rothes, Morayshire. Onderdeel van The Chivas & Glenlivet Group. Eigendom van Seagram.
James en John Grant begonnen met het distilleren in 1832 te Aberlour, samen met James en John Walker.
Toen het huurcontract in 1840 eindigde, ging James Walker naar Linkwood en de beide Grants, broers, begonnen de Drumbain distilleerderij.
De distilleerderij kon 1500 gallons whisky per week produceren, is 6750 liter, wat heel veel was.
De familie zou 138 jaar in het bezit van de distilleerderij blijven, tot in 1978.
Naast de distilleerderij liep de Moray spoorlijn die voor aanvoer van kolen en turf zorgde en volle vaten met whisky afvoerde en voor een groter afzetgebied zorgdroeg.
John Grant stierf in 1864, James in 1872.
Major James Grant, de zoon van James nam de distilleerderij over en bouwde in 1897 een nieuwe distilleerderij aan de overkant van de weg en spoorlijn die Glen Grant 2 werd genoemd.
Major James Grant legde ook de schitterende tuin aan bij de distilleerderij, kompleet met kluis, met daarin altijd een fles Glen Grant.
In 1898 werd er een trommelmouterij gebouwd.
Door het frauduleus bankroet van de Pattison's in 1899, en de gevolgen daarvan voor de gehele whiskyindustrie toen, moest Glen Grant 2 in 1901 sluiten.
Glen Grant 2 zou tot 1965 gesloten blijven en toen als Caperdonich weer worden opgestart. Maar Glen Grant zelf bleef heel succesvol.
Major James Grant overleefde al zijn zoons en toen hij stierf in 1931 werd zijn kleinzoon Douglas Mackessack de eigenaar.
Ook Douglas Mackessack was heel succesvol, onder zijn leiding was Glen Grant overal in Engeland en Schotland leverbaar en ook in de export was Glen Grant heel sterk.
Een grote doorbraak kwam in 1961, toen een Italiaans hotelier te Milaan, tijdens een bezoek aan Schotland zo enthousiast werd over single malt whisky dat hij vroeg importeur te mogen worden van Glen Grant in Italië.
Het succes was enorm, en blijvend, tientallen jaren zouden de Italianen de grootste malt whisky drinkers blijven ter wereld ! Gedurende wereldoorlog twee was Glen Grant gesloten.
In 1952 fuseerden Glen Grant en The Glenlivet distilleerderijen, gevolgd door een samengaan met Hill Thomson Limited, whiskyblenders en de Longmorn distilleerderij in 1972.

Glen Grant is één van de heel grote whiskies van Schotland, en een heel grote dis-tilleerderij. Zijn met stoom verhitte acht ketels kunnen 5,3 miljoen liter spirit per jaar produceren. Men lagert in zowel sherry- als bourbon vaten.
Het proceswater komt van de Caperdonich Burn, het koelwater van de rivier Spey.
Glen Grant wordt in een enorm aantal variëteiten gebotteld.
Kapaciteit: 5.900.000 liter spirit per jaar.
1840   De broers James en John Grant, managers van de Dandelaith distilleerderij
stichten de distilleerderij.
1861   Glen Grant is de eerste distilleerderij met electrisch licht
1864   John Grant sterft
1872   James Grant junior wordt de nieuwe manager van Glen Grant (Major James Grant)
1897   James Grant besluit tot het bouwen van een nieuwe distilleerderij aan de
andere kant van de weg: Glen Grant No. 2
1902   Glen Grant No 2 gaat in de mottenballen
1931   Major James Grant sterft en wordt opgevolgd door zijn kleinzoon Major Douglas
 Mackessack
1953   J & J Grant fuseren met Georg & J. G. Smith van de Glenlivet distilleerderij,
 en gaan verder als The Glenlivet & Glen Grant Distillers Ltd.
1961   Armando Giovinetti and Douglas Mackessack sluiten vriendschap wat uiteindelijk
leidt tot het feit dat Glen Grant de meest verkochte malt whisky van Italie wordt  
1965   Glen Grant No. 2 wordt weer opgestart en produceert nu als Caperdonich
1972   The Glenlivet & Glen Grant Distillers fuseren met de blenders Hill Thomson &
Co en Longmorn - Glenlivet Ltd, de nieuwe naam The Glenlivet Distillers  
1972   De drum mouterij sluit
1973   Er komen twee ketels bij, totaal nu 6 ketels              
2001   Uitbreiding van 6 naar 10 ketels
Seagram neemt de The Glenlivet Group over Pernod Ricard en Diageo kopen Seagram, waarbij Pernod Ricard in het bezit komt van de Chivas Group
2005   Pernod Ricard en Fortune Brands nemen Allied Domecq over voor $ 14 miljard
2006   Campari neemt Glen Grant over voor 130 miljoen pond over, alsmede de blen
ded whiskies Old Smugler en Braemar

2008                   
Op 29 Mei wordt een nieuw bezoekerscentrum geopend
                     
James Grant, 'The Major', was only 25 when he set about achieving his vision of a pure malt with a clear colour. The unique flavour and appearance was due to the purifiers and tall slender stills he designed and his decision to retain its natural colour. As unconventional in his life as his work, and a notoriously lavish host, he ejoyed leading guests through his exotic gardens to the falls. There, taken from his secret whisky safe, he he'd offer drams of Glen Grant accompanied by spring water drawn from the same Speyside burn that still feeds the distillery today. The Major's energetic pursuit of pleasure lives on in the sublime pure single malt, Glen Grant.

17 April 2013

The Prince of Wales will open a whisky bottling plant at Glen Grant Distillery.

Campari releases Glen Grant 50

18 March, 2014

Gruppo Campari has announced the launch of Glen Grant 50 Year Old.
Numbering only 150 bottles, the half-century old Scotch will launch to Hong Kong travel retail from March 21 and later be unveiled in Singapore, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing and Taipei.
From June this year, it will be launched in other international duty free and domestic markets. Price is on request.
The whisky is housed in hand-blown crystal glass decanters, designed in the image of Glen Grant's pot stills and featuring the number 50 in 18-carat gold lettering.
Dennis Malcolm, who filled the cask in 1963 and later became Glen Grant master distiller said: "Maturation cannot be rushed. Like people, casks mature at their own pace. I have protected and cared for this barrel for 50 years, letting it breathe and patiently waiting for the magic and interaction of whisky and wood.

GLEN  GRANT  DISTILLERY

Malt: Unpeated / Optic & Concerto
Mashing: Full - lauter mash tun,
 12.28 tonnes mash               
Distillation: 5 Wash stills 15.000 litres,
 5 Spirit stills 11.000 litres
                   
The Wash stills have a "German helmet"which helps to keep the spirit clean.
and stills are fitted with purifiers which gave the spirit a light and delicate character.

150 First fill sherry hogsheads are filled a year and the other make goes into ex -
Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrels.

For bottled single malts the casks are used 3 times.



2006              Gruppo Campari buys Glen Grant distillery from Chivas Brothers for
                     115,000.000 pound

2009              11 Dunnage warehouses are bought from Chivas Brothers and a
                     3,5.000.000 are spent in refurnishing them
                     The capacity is 65.000 casks.

2012              A racked Warehouse is rented from Forsyth coppersmiths, on the
                     other side of the road and belongs formerly to the Caperdonich
                     distillery, built in 1897 as a tandem distillery of Glen Grant as
                     Glen Grant Number 2 distillery and was demolished in 2010 by
                     Forsyth when they bought Caperdonich distillery.

2014              A new bottling hall for 5,500.000 was built with a capacity of
                     12000 bottles a hour
                              

Glen Grant sells in Italy in the years 1970 and early 1980s 500.000 cases a year,
and now in the 2014s a 340.000 cases a year largely due to the former owner
Chivas Regal laissez faire attitude to Glen Grant prior to its sale in 2006.

John Grant increased the original pair of stills to a quartet in the late 19th century. A new stillhouse with a further two were added in 1973 and another four installed there in 1977. In 1983, the old stillhouse was closed and two larger stills were put into the new stillhouse, giving the current complement of eight.

Heating has been equally convoluted. Everything was coal-fired until 1973, when gas was brought in to run the new stills. In 1983 however, all the wash stills were converted back to coal while the spirit side switched to steam. Today all are indirect fired. The effect? Hard to say, but there is some greater weight in older bottlings that suggests the effects of flame did have an influence on character. Certainly peat was used into the early 70s.

The main driver of lightness however is the shape of the stills which have almost square boil bulbs (reminiscent of a WWII German soldier’s helmet) which increase copper surface significantly. They are also fitted with purifying chambers in the lyne arm which act as a pre-condenser, refluxing back heavy elements which are carried down a purifier pipe into the body of the still. Today most of the make is aged in ex-Bourbon and refill casks which accentuate this delicacy. The ex-Sherry casks which defined Glen Grant for many years are rarely seen at the distillery these days but remain the signature of the bottlings from Gordon & MacPhail.


Though it might seem self-aggrandising to name a valley after yourself, John and James Grant were men of substance. John, though a respected landowner, is suspected to have had some ‘previous’ when it came to whisky making at the start of the 19th century. His brother James however was a pillar of the community. An engineer by trade, who became Lord Provost [mayor] of Elgin. The brothers joined to build what was then a massive distillery in 1839. They were also far-sighted enough to realise that large-scale whisky production would flounder if transport links were not established. It was thanks to them (James in particular) that a rail line was built from Lossiemouth to Elgin, while in 1858 they paid personally for the extension of the route south to their base in Rothes.

The estate around Glen Grant House continued to grow throughout the century eventually comprising a huge greenhouse complex and extensive formal gardens. Much of its splendour is thanks to the entrepreneurial actions of John’s son (also John, but best known as ‘The Major’) who took charge of the business in 1872.

A diminutive man who loved shooting large beasts in Africa, small birds and deer in Scotland and catching salmon in the Spey, he installed the first electric light seen in the area powered by turbines in the distillery, and is claimed to have had the first motor car in the Highlands.

A dilettante? Not really for outwith his extra-curricular pleasures, The Major was an engineer like his uncle who deliberately designed a distillery which was different to others. It was he who installed the purifier pipes, designed the look and shape of the stills, and who had the foresight to start exporting.

In 1898, with demand rising, The Major built a second distillery across the road from Glen Grant but like so many constructed at this time it closed soon after (in 1902). Its maltings – which are claimed to have been the first pneumatic malting drums in the Highlands continued to supply the needs of its sister plant.

Originally called Glen Grant No. 2, it was renamed Caperdonich when it re-opened in 1965. New make was run across from the stillhouse to Glen Grant via a pipe which spanned the thoroughfare.

Although identical in design to the original and run in the same fashion, ‘Caper’ never made the same character as its sister. Sadly, it closed in 2002 and the site was bulldozed to make way for the ever-expanding Forsyth’s coppersmiths. Independent bottlings are relatively common and, somewhat inevitably, now that it has gone people have woken up to how good it actually was.

Glen Grant itself was one of the first whisky brands. You could find Glen Grant in Africa, Australia and the US in the late 19th century, a brand before the term had been invented.

In 1952, George Mackessack (The Major’s grandson) merged with the Smith Grants of The Glenlivet and in 1970 the firm joined with Longmorn/Benriach. Eight years later, Seagram bought them all which ended the family involvement.

When Pernod Ricard took over Seagram’s whisky arm in 2001, Glen Grant was deemed legally surplus and in 2006 it was snapped up by Gruppo Campari. This is appropriate, as Glen Grant was the largest selling whisky (including blends) in the 1960s and the county remains the malt’s most significant market. With the Italian market focussing on young, light expressions, older bottlings have long been handled by Gordon & MacPhail.

Today, Glen Grant is still run by master distiller Dennis Malcolm who was born at the distillery in 1946 and started working there in 1961.

1839
John and James Grant join forces to build the enormous Glen Grant distillery
1872
John Grant's son, 'The Major', takes over the distillery operation
1898
The Major builds a second distillery across from Glen Grant (now known as Caperdonich), but flounders four years later
1952
George Mackessack merged the distillery with George & JG. Smith, forming The Glenlivet & Glen Grant Distillers
1970
The group merges with Hill Thompson & Co and Longmorn-Glenlivet to form The Glenlivet Distillers
1973
Glen Grant's stills are increased from four to six
1977
Seagrams buys the distillery, increasing the stills once again to 10
2001
Pernod Ricard acquires the Chivas group
2006
Italy's Gruppo Campari buys Glen Grant for €115m
2007
One year into Campari's ownership the brand receives a revamp


CAPACITY (MLPA) i
6.2
CONDENSER TYPE i
Shell and tube
FERMENTATION TIME i
48hrs
FILLING STRENGTH i
63.5%
GRIST WEIGHT (T) i
12.28
MALT SPECIFICATION i
Less than 1ppm
MALT SUPPLIER i
Various
MASH TUN TYPE i
Semi Lauter
NEW-MAKE STRENGTH i
68%
SPIRIT STILL CHARGE (L) i
10,000
SPIRIT STILL SHAPE i
Traditional with purifiers
SPIRIT STILL SIZE (L) i
11,547
STILLS i
8
WAREHOUSING i
Traditional dunnage and racked
WASH STILL CHARGE (L) i
15,000
WASH STILL SHAPE i
Traditional with unique boil ball and purifiers
WASH STILL SIZE (L) i
22,730
WASHBACK CHARGE (L) i
60,000
WASHBACK SIZE (L) i
90,000
WASHBACK TYPE i
Wood
WASHBACKS i
10
WATER SOURCE i
Private Springs and Black Burn
WORT CLARITY i
Clear
YEAST TYPE i
Mauri
OWNERS

Gruppo Campari
2006 - present
CURRENT OWNER

Glen Grant Limited
PREVIOUS OWNERS

Chivas Brothers Holdings
2001 - 2006
Seagram Distillers
1977 - 2001
The Glenlivet Distillers
1970 - 1977
The Glenlivet and Glen Grant Distilleries
1952 - 1970
J&J Grant
1860s - 1952
John and James Grant
1839 - 1860s

DENNIS MALCOLM, GLEN GRANT

The life and career of Dennis Malcolm are inextricably intertwined with the fortunes of Glen Grant, the Speyside distillery he managed until last year. Born in Rothes in 1946, Malcolm joined Glen Grant at the age of 15 as an apprentice cooper during the regime of Douglas MacKessack. Despite stints away at other distilleries, he was called back when Italy’s Campari group bought Glen Grant a decade ago, and has overseen the creation of the distillery’s new range of malts.

Dennis Malcolm at Glen Grant
Home, sweet home: Dennis Malcolm has been linked to Glen Grant almost since he was born
‘Glen Grant isn’t a job for me, it’s a way of life. I was born on the distillery site and my grandfather and father both worked here, so it was always going to be my destiny.

‘I modelled myself on Douglas MacKessack – a gentleman distiller who really cared about people. I was 24 when I was appointed brewer, in 1971. The old guys looked after me. They were lazy, but I didn’t mind doing a lot of work. A young body with these old heads around me.

‘As a child you’d get a teaspoonful of whisky on a sore tooth, or in a toddy for a cold. My first real whisky would have been young, clear stuff when I started working at the distillery. Today the 10-year-old is my favourite, but the new 12 might just top it.

‘I was working as an apprentice cooper when [Italian businessman Armando Giovinetti] first took lots of cases of Glen Grant single malt over to Italy. We were selling 1.5m cases there in the 1970s, but Seagram bought the distillery in 1977 and for 28 years really did nothing with it.

‘Their focus was all on Glenlivet and Chivas Regal. Glen Grant dropped from the public eye. There were 58 staff when I started coopering and then mashing, but it shrunk to five under Seagram and Pernod Ricard ownership [1977-2006] – it was just a production unit.

‘My father was a big supporter of the Scotch whisky industry. Three drams, three times a day meant that you were effectively drinking half a bottle a day. Over 50 years that’s a lot of whisky in a life. When they stopped dramming workers they gave them one bottle a month instead, which wasn’t quite the same.

‘In 1992 I was based at Strathisla distillery with the task of running all nine of Chivas’ distilleries in the area, which certainly kept me busy!

‘I started work for [current distillery owner Campari] on 10 April 2006 and, as Glen Grant was their only distillery, they wanted to do it right, they wanted the place to shine.

‘Two things that are important to me here are quality and that cleanliness is next to godliness. There’s no excuse for a distillery not to be clean these days, with no floor maltings and no coal-fired stills. The guys here take ownership of it being clean and well looked-after.

‘Glen Grant is a way of life, but I caravan and garden and do a lot of work for the local church. Maybe it’s because I was so bad when I was young that I’m trying to put something back! I think having a Christian attitude to life influences the way you treat people for the better.

‘The bottling hall opened in 2013 and was a major show of confidence in Glen Grant. We spent £5.5m on the bottling hall and it can turn out 12,000 bottles per hour.

‘We’re making over 2m litres of spirit a year now, almost all of it for ourselves. Only a tiny percentage is distilled for external customers. The distillery could make 6m litres a year, but we use the same seven production staff to distil and bottle. We could produce 3.8m litres without interrupting the bottling if we wanted to.

‘I have to admit I slept better when we first brought in automation during the 1970s. There were four shifts, and workers on each shift would have their own idea of where to cut the spirit, but the computer settings keep it all constant. The people are important, however, not machines. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using manual control or automation; the person has to understand the process.

‘I created our new 12- and 18-year-olds and there’s more in the pipeline. We’re doing a 12-year-old and an 18-year-old partly because the US market likes those ages. The 18-year-old comprises whisky from first and second fill Bourbon casks and remade hogsheads.

‘There’s also a non-chill-filtered 12-year-old just for travel retail. It has more intense fruits and lasts longer in the finish than the standard 12-year-old. Everything’s heightened. The 12-year-old truly comes of age when not chill-filtered.

‘I’d like to think I kept the boat steady for future generations. I’ll never see the whisky I’m laying down. That’s what the distillery founders and those who followed them did for me.

‘I always say don’t cremate me when I die as I might blow up. Just bung me in a butt and roll it into the ground. People who don’t like me can always give it a kick.

‘One old guy a few years ago wrote to me and complained that the Glen Grant in his bottle didn’t taste like Glen Grant. I asked him to send it in to us, and we’d refund the postage. It turned out that his sister had made cider and filled it into some empty bottles, including this one. I sent him a replacement bottle anyway.’


James and John Grant
Double act: the Grant brothers were a famously forceful pair
Since the mid-19th century, the label on every bottle of Glen Grant has featured two plaid-clad Highlanders, sitting by a cask and sharing a dram.

The men are the brothers John and James Grant, who founded the distillery. One of them was a whisky smuggler-turned-distiller who developed an international market for Glen Grant.

The other was a politician who marched in the last clan rising in Scottish history, and delivered a sound thrashing to a pair of garrotters…

The Glen Grant range

Family business: the Grants' distillery is now owned by Italy's Campari

The Grants were born in Shenval in Morinsh, not far from George Smith’s birthplace at Upper Drumin in Glenlivet.

John (1797-1864) became a grain dealer, but there wasn’t a lot of grain to deal in: it was a well-known fact that there were hundreds of illicit stills working in the area, and most of the local barley crop was distilled into whisky.

So John’s stated profession was really just a cover – in fact, as his contemporaries remembered later, he made his living as a whisky smuggler.

John bought illicit whisky from his neighbours and sent it south across the hills, in casks slung across the backs of sturdy ponies. He sold it to customers in Perth, Dundee and the small towns along the way, and he was instrumental in establishing the enormous popularity of smuggled ‘Real Glenlivet’ whisky.

When the Excise authorities clamped down on illicit distilling in the 1820s, and the first licensed distilleries were founded in Glenlivet, he began dealing in ‘legal’ whisky instead.

John’s main client was his friend George Smith. At first, he had problems persuading his customers to buy the produce of a licensed still – the harsh, fiery whisky produced by the ‘entered’ lowland distillers had given legal whisky a bad reputation among whisky aficionados of the day.

So he cunningly informed them that Smith’s Glenlivet was smuggled whisky, only letting them know the truth once they’d tried it and  developed a taste for it.

Grant was soon buying 200 gallons of Smith’s Glenlivet a week. It wasn’t long before he had thoughts about making whisky too.

John’s brother James trained as a solicitor in Edinburgh and, after qualifying, set up in business in Elgin. In 1834, he and his brother went into business with two Elgin drapers, taking over the lease of the Aberlour distillery. Knowing that the lease expired in 1840, the brothers made plans to set up on their own.   

According to legend, John took expert advice on brewing and distilling techniques from George Smith, then sat down by a hazel bush on the bank of the Back Burn in Rothes, and sketched plans for his distillery in the hollow.

The distillery was named Glen Grant, and opened in 1840 with John in sole charge of the distillery’s management. It was an instant success.



Whisky brethren: the Grants' likeness still adorns every bottle of Glen Grant

There are authors who insist that single malt whisky did not reach a wide audience in Victorian times, and that whisky blenders were the first to develop overseas markets. They clearly haven’t looked at the story of Glen Grant.

The brothers began distilling 1,500 gallons of their ‘Glengrant Glenlivat whisky’ each week, and sent a large proportion to their own warehouse in London.

The whisky was intended for drinking as a single malt: when they discovered that their agent there ‘increased the sales of plain malt spirits raw grain and other inferior sorts of whisky by mixing them with the pure malt whisky manufactured by the firm of J&J Grant’, they ended his agency agreement.

And Glen Grant sales were not confined to the British Isles – according to John himself, speaking in 1854, ‘the produce of the distillery of Glengrant… found its way direct from the distillery to North and South America, Sierra Leone, Gibraltar, the Cape of Good Hope, Bombay, Calcutta, 500 miles up the Ganges, Canton, Hong Kong and Australia’.

And what of his wee brother James? Well, James was the silent partner in Glen Grant, but he had a pretty eventful life himself. In 1820 he marched on the Raid on Elgin, the last clan raid in Scottish history, when the Grants travelled en masse to Elgin to rescue their Clan Chief’s family from a mob that had besieged their home there.

He later became Provost of Elgin, and one of the great railway promoters who provided Speyside with the modern transport links required to stimulate the whisky industry there.

John and James were major shareholders in the Morayshire Railway Company, James was chairman, and one of the steam engines which worked the line was named Glen Grant in their honour.

James’ winning personality, after he had danced and sung his way through his speech to an audience of 1,700 employees and their partners at a Great North of Scotland Railway Company function, prompted a journalist to write in the Forres Gazette that ‘the man’s a marvel, sir, a marvel of pluck, spirit, and honest outspokenness’.

And as for the garrotters…

In the 1860s, James visited London on business. Two ruffians ambushed him as he walked across Trafalgar Square one evening, one wrapping a knotted rope around his neck to garrot him – intent on squeezing until the unfortunate victim blacked out – and the other rifling his pockets.

As he fell to the ground they ran off with his gold watch and chain, but the Provost was made of stern stuff. He got to his feet and gave chase, knocking down one of his assailants with his stick, and then giving the other a sound thrashing when he turned back to help his accomplice.

The police arrived, he retrieved his valuables, and the battered garrotters were taken off into custody
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