We met Heiko while visiting the five-star Hotel A-Rosa on the island of Sylt in the North Sea. Dubbed the “Hamptons of Germany”, Sylt is populated with the type of old European money that makes the New York seacoast look downright nouveau riche. We learned he was not only an excellent mixologist, but also a classically trained spiritist with a specialization in Whisky/Whiskey. It was at the Hotel A-Rosa where Heiko began working as a barkeep after finishing his apprenticeship as a hotel clerk, and it is there where he discovered the passion for whisky. He has since filled his life with usige beatha — that’s Gaelic for “water of life”. In February 2012 Heiko was appointed as the 72nd Malt Ambassador of Campari Germany; it is his intention to bring whisky to all who want to learn more about that holy water. This is his fifth High Spirits taste test for LIAS, see his first review HERE.
Now Christmas is near and I’m back writing for you a new review. I’m sorry it took so long for another one, but the end is near of waiting and suffering. Today I will show you a really wonderful Whisky form the distillery Glen Grant, another spirit owned by the Campari Gruppo. The Range starts at the Standard Glen Grant, goes further to the 10 years old Single Malt and then to the 16 years old Single Malt. All of them are really nice, but today we are looking at another one. A really special one. Just Imagine the story I’m telling you now.
It all started 50 years ago when Dennis Malcolm begins to work for the Glen Grant distillery as a trainee. After some time and a lot of work he became Master Distiller and finally General Manager. It took a long time, but today he is one of the most important persons in Whisky all the world over. He was born, worked his whole life at Glen Grant and still lives right next to the distillery. For his 50th anniversary he created a Whisky from the best cask of the last 50 years to celebrate his wonderful time he’s had — and will continue to have.
Today we are talking about the Glen Grant Five Decades – a masterpiece.
As I said the Whisky is made out of the best Whisky cask in all the distillery, all hand selected and laid down from himself, over the last 50 years.
Things to know:
Single Malt Scotch Whisky. You may have heard that combination a lot, but do you know that each of these words has a single meaning? Single stands for that the Whisky has to be made in only one distillery. Malt means that it has to be done from 100% barley. Scotch tells us that the Whisky has to be distilled in Scotland and matured a minimum of 3 years in oak casks. And last but not least the word Whisky. The first people who made Whisky lived in 3000 BC; in that time they called it aqua vitae. This explanation turned in the more modern time to usige beatha which is Gaelic for “water of life”. Since 1736 it was called Whisky, as you know it.
It all starts with a rich, deep and flowery smell in your glass. The sweetness is tremendous and big. Hints of vanilla compared with honey are completing the symphony in my mind. The smell is not strong at all, well done. After awhile malt jumps in my face. The barley is rich and compared with some heather flower? Try it yourself!
Things to know:
For me the perfect glass for aqua vitae is the Harmony 11 from Rastal. The content is only 2cl, but this glass is great for tastings and even for me at home to enjoy the wonderful combination of this holy water.
Actually it starts dry, even the if the nose is so fruity. But not as dry as a Dry Martini, because after just a few seconds some plums and berries are jumping right at the front of your tongue. Like the nose this Whisky is not strong at all. This is because of the nice notes of honey and toffee compared with some hints of salt. It feels like you’re standing on a hill, watching the sunset and looking at the sea which is too far away for a walk, but still next to you that you can smell the wonderful freshness of freedom.
The finish turns into a little surprise. The hints of salt are stronger compared with a fresh note of different kinds of salad at the side of your tongue. Now the notes of plums, raisins and berries are even stronger and more beautiful. A nice not too strong dryness stays in the mouth. A middle-long to long aftertaste. Not bad for a Speyside Whisky.
This is the best Glen Grant I have ever had. Well balanced and beautifully smooth in its taste. The bottle is a limited version so try to get one if you still can.
Price per bottle: $190 (£115)
Total Value 4.3
Hope you’d enjoyed reading my blog and see ya next time folks…
Follow Heiko at @MaltAmbassador