INFO Date Distilled Apr 79 Date Bottled Aug 92 Society Cask No. 9.6 The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, The Vaults, Leith, Edinburgh
5 years old
INFO DISTILLED 1986 Bottled:1991 Glen Grant Distillery Company, Edinburgh and Rothes
5 years old
INFO DISTILLED 1987 Bottled: 1992 Glen Grant Distillery Company, Edinburgh and Rothes
geen leeftijd vermelding
INFO LAST BOTTLE AND EMPTY Glen Grant Distillery Company, Edinburgh and Rothes Clear Colour - Pure Malt
30 years old
INFO From The Heath Covered Mountains of Scotia I Come 150th ANNIVESARY RESERVE Genummerde flessen 1200 bottles J. & J. Grant, Glen Grant Distillery, Rothes
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
13 years old
55,1% LAST BOTTLE AND EMPTY 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
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
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
31 years old
INFO Matured in Sherry Cask Distilled: 2/1969 Bottled: 11/2000 240 Numbered Bottles The Whisky Exchange
21 years old
40 % From The Heath Covered Mountains of Scotia I Come J. & J. Grant, Glen Grant Distillery, Rothes Gordon & Macphail, Elgin
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
46 % 1 8 4 0 - 2 0 1 0 Unique Selection of the Finest Vintages Glen Grant Distillery, Rothes
Aged 41 Years
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
Aged 16 years
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
Aged 16 years
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
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
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
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 4� 4���i0��4�@4�@@4�en 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 blended whiskies Old Smugler en Braemar
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
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
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.
John and James Grant join forces to build the enormous Glen Grant distillery
John Grant's son, 'The Major', takes over the distillery operation
The Major builds a second distillery across from Glen Grant (now known as Caperdonich), but flounders four years later
George Mackessack merged the distillery with George & JG. Smith, forming The Glenlivet & Glen Grant Distillers
The group merges with Hill Thompson & Co and Longmorn-Glenlivet to form The Glenlivet Distillers
Glen Grant's stills are increased from four to six
Pernod Ricard acquires the Chivas group
Italy's Gruppo Campari buys Glen Grant for €115m
One year into Campari's ownership the brand receives a revamp
CAPACITY (MLPA) i
CONDENSER TYPE i
Shell and tube
FERMENTATION TIME i
FILLING STRENGTH i
GRIST WEIGHT (T) i
MALT SPECIFICATION i
Less than 1ppm
MALT SUPPLIER i
MASH TUN TYPE i
NEW-MAKE STRENGTH i
SPIRIT STILL CHARGE (L) i
SPIRIT STILL SHAPE i
Traditional with purifiers
SPIRIT STILL SIZE (L) i
Traditional dunnage and racked
WASH STILL CHARGE (L) i
WASH STILL SHAPE i
Traditional with unique boil ball and purifiers
WASH STILL SIZE (L) i
WASHBACK CHARGE (L) i
WASHBACK SIZE (L) i
WASHBACK TYPE i
WATER SOURCE i
Private Springs and Black Burn
WORT CLARITY i
YEAST TYPE i
2006 - present
Glen Grant Limited
Chivas Brothers Holdings
2001 - 2006
1977 - 2001
The Glenlivet Distillers
1970 - 1977
The Glenlivet and Glen Grant Distilleries
1952 - 1970
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
SCOTCH ‘MARKETING GENIUS’ HUGH MITCALFE DIES
17 January 2019
Tributes have been paid to Hugh Mitcalfe, the ‘marketing genius’ behind the rise of single malts Glen Grant and Macallan, who has died at the age of 84.
Hugh Mitcalfe former marketing director of Macallan and Glen Grant
Marketing brain: Hugh Mitcalfe’s skills helped spur Glen Grant and Macallan on to great success
Mitcalfe, who died ‘peacefully’ on 2 January, spent nearly 20 years at Glen Grant – a time of huge success for the Rothes single malt, especially in Italy – before moving to Macallan and helping to transform it from a little-known Speyside distillery into perhaps the world’s most recognised malt whisky.
‘He left an indelible mark on Glen Grant,’ said Dennis Malcolm OBE, Glen Grant master distiller. ‘Through his endeavours, Glen Grant really made it in Italy… We were selling nearly half a million cases there in the 1970s.’
‘Hugh Mitcalfe was the marketing brain behind The Macallan,’ added Willie Phillips, Macallan MD from 1978 to 1996. ‘I keep saying to people, when they say “you built The Macallan”; no, my team built The Macallan, and Hugh was an important part of that team.’
In the 1980s, Mitcalfe developed Macallan’s ‘Anniversary’ expressions, starting with a 25-year-old, and moving on to a 50-year-old and a 60-year-old, a bottle of which recently sold for more than £1m at auction.
‘Hugh was intimately involved in every stage of The Macallan’s transition from being a top-class malt for the blenders into a powerful brand in its own right, thereby laying the foundations for the global fame to come,’ said David Cox, previously a director of The Macallan Distillers Ltd, now retired.
Whisky writer Charlie MacLean added that Mitcalfe’s contribution to the history of Scotch malt whisky ‘must not be underestimated’ – particularly his work in Italy with Glen Grant, and then with Macallan.
Hugh Mitcalfe, Douglas Mackessack and Italian visitors at Inverness Aerodrome
Italian visitors: Mitcalfe (centre left, dark glasses) with Douglas Mackessack (kilt) and representatives of Glen Grant’s Italian importers at Inverness Aerodrome in 1961
HUGH MITCALFE (1934-2019)
Hugh Mitcalfe joined Glen Grant in 1959 as export and marketing director; he was the son-in-law of distillery owner Major Douglas Mackessack, having married his daughter Kirsteen.
‘What I did like about him was that he came as the boss’s son-in-law, but he ended up spending the better part of a year at the plant, learning from the bottom up,’ recalls Malcolm.
‘He came to the maltings at Caperdonich. He came to the cooperage when I was working there, learning how to build a cask. He wanted to know everything.’
Mitcalfe oversaw Glen Grant’s conquest of the Italian market, where it was distributed by the Giovinetti family. ‘Armando Giovinetti came over and bought a few cases, and stuck them in the boot of his car, but Hugh spent a lot of time in Italy,’ says Malcolm.
‘We always knew if Hugh had had a good trip or a bad trip. He made a point when he came in in the morning of walking straight through the tun room and the mash house… If it was a very good trip, he’d stand and chat to you; if it wasn’t so good, he’d walk straight on through.’
Malcolm adds: ‘You knew exactly where you stood with him – he was very transparent and didn’t bend back and forth. The more he sold, the more we had to produce; we worked longer hours and the men made more money, so he was basically our hero.’
Hugh Mitcalfe, Douglas Mackessack, Armando Giovinetti
Glen Grant days: Hugh Mitcalfe (far right) with Douglas Mackessack (far left), their respective wives and Armando Giovinetti
Mitcalfe left Glen Grant when it was sold to Canadian group Seagram in 1978, moving a few miles south to become the first marketing director at Macallan.
Macallan was then a blender’s malt with a good reputation on Speyside, but little renown beyond its borders. Brothers Allan and Peter Shiach set out to change that, laying down stocks and, as they reached maturity, assembling a small team under Phillips and Mitcalfe to build Macallan’s reputation.
‘Hugh arrived, and I remember that he found us so backward,’ recalls Phillips. ‘We had no telex, for example, and he went on and on and on about this until we got one. But the only place we had for it was in the ante-room of the gents toilet, so the girls from the office had to go in there to send Hugh’s telexes for him.’
He continues: ‘When he came, Hugh realised that Macallan knew nothing – less than nothing – about marketing. He knew we had a good product that was pretty well-known in Speyside, and we did a little marketing of the new spirit to the blenders, but actual marketing of Macallan in bottle there was none – and, to be honest, we didn’t know how to do it.’
For Mitcalfe, one of the attractions of Macallan was its inventory. ‘He’d been told on Speyside that Macallan had absolutely wonderful stocks of mature whisky,’ says Phillips. ‘When he came, about 10 days in he said to me: “I’ve heard a rumour that you’ve got some good stocks, Willie. Could I see them, please?” So I gave him a list and he came into my room and said: “Wow.”’
Cox echos this, quoting Mitcalfe’s first marketing report, dated March 1979:
‘We have excellent stocks of very old whiskies available. I do not believe that any of our competitors can match us in this respect and, properly used, this can give us considerable Public Relation advantage.’
Macallan 1980s advertising
Tall tales: Macallan’s 1980s advertising was witty and well-targeted at its audience
Having the liquid was one thing; knowing how to sell it another. ‘Hugh was a marketing genius in his own way, because he never, ever exploited those stocks, he used them for Macallan publicity,’ says Phillips.
‘He came out with a 25-year-old, not to try and get some rich person to make a huge investment; instead, he called it the Anniversary Malt, because he thought that people with a 25-year anniversary might want to buy a bottle.’
Advertising was a vital part of the mix. David Holmes (who died last September) and Nick Salaman of London agency Holmes Knight Ritchie were brought in, placing quirky little ads next to The Times crossword and coming up with a succession of homespun, witty Macallan ‘story’ adverts illustrated with pen-and-ink drawings by illustrator Anna Midda.
‘Allan Shiach gets the credit as the creative ideas man behind these adverts, but a lot of them came from Hugh Mitcalfe,’ says Phillips. ‘He encouraged everyone at the distillery to to think about stories that might work for the adverts.’
Mitcalfe was also the face of The Advocates of the Macallan, communicating with the single malt’s growing fanbase via the pages of the Easter Elchies Digest. ‘He wrote every three months to people, to all the names who joined this [programme], and his letters were just absolutely terrific,’ says Phillips.
There were, however, creative tensions at times. ‘He and I had a lot of tussles,’ Phillips admits. ‘But behind the tussles was a man with a heart for the product, and of course he was talking to me, whose heart was always totally with the product. We had our little battles, but we became a real team.’
Macallan 1980s advertising
Creative force: Macallan’s marketing helped to transform the single malt’s fortunes
Mitcalfe’s involvement with Macallan ended – as it had done in the case of Glen Grant – in disappointment and a takeover, this time by Highland Distillers in 1996. ‘He was really upset,’ recalls Phillips. ‘He thought that Allan Shiach had sold us out, but the takeover came as a shock to Allan too… He and I were very quickly told we weren’t going to stay.’
Phillips and Mitcalfe, who sometimes travelled together in the US to promote Macallan, were in some ways an odd couple. ‘Hugh was not an aristocrat – that’s not the right word – but he was of that ilk,’ says Phillips. ‘He was public school, whereas I was not – and it showed. I was more of a people man than he was; but he was a gentleman.
‘Hugh was better than I was intellectually – my superior, I think; and, from a marketing point of view, very clearly my superior, and so I had to respect what he wanted to do.
‘Despite our tussles, I always had a high regard for Hugh Mitcalfe. In my life, I count him as one of my real friends, even though we hardly spoke after we left the company.’
Cox adds of Mitcalfe: ‘Of patrician demeanour, together with Allan Shiach and Willie Phillips, he helped develop a personality for The Macallan that is with us to this day.
‘Like them, he didn’t just work for The Macallan; he lived it.’
G&M BOTTLES ‘OLDEST’ GLEN GRANT 70 YEAR OLD
Gordon & MacPhail has released a 70-year-old Glen Grant – the ‘oldest’ whisky from the Speyside distillery ever bottled.
Glen Grant 70 year old from Gordon & MacPhail
‘Oldest’ Glen Grant: The 70-year-old single malt was distilled at the Speyside distillery in 1948
The expression, distilled in 1948 – six years before barley rationing restrictions were lifted following WWII, has been released as part of the independent bottler’s Private Collection with a price tag of £17,500.
Matured in Cask #2154, a first-fill Sherry butt filled on 11 June 1948, the whisky is said to have notes of ‘dried fruit, orange zest and cracked black pepper’ with a ‘charred oak finish’.
Bottled at 48.6% abv, just 210 hand-blown crystal decanters have been produced.
Stephen Rankin, director of prestige at Gordon & MacPhail, and a fourth generation member of the Urquhart family, said: ‘Four generations of my family have carefully nurtured Cask 2154 over its 70 years to produce this unique whisky.
‘My great-grandfather, John, selected the first-fill Sherry butt in 1948 to fill with new make spirit from Glen Grant.
‘My family has patiently watched over this cask, regularly monitoring and sampling the whisky, recognising the right moment to bottle it at its ultimate peak.
‘This masterpiece epitomises the skill and craft involved in matching a cask to new make spirit, as well as our dedication to creating unique and intriguing whiskies.’
Gordon & MacPhail’s 1948 Glen Grant single malt is available to purchase from specialist retailers worldwide, and will be release in the US in the spring.
Its launch follows the recent release of a 50-year-old single cask whisky from Caol Ila, also the oldest expression from the Islay distillery to be bottled.