The Glen Grant Distillery is located in the Speyside town of Rothes and is one of seven operating distilleries on the famous Malt Whisky Trail.
The short walk from the car park along a well-kept garden path and across a gurgling burn to the visitor centre provides a very favorable first impression. Although quite massive in terms of output (6.2 m litres of pure alcohol per annum) the distillery buildings look more like a little village nestled into some forgotten corner of the woods.
There is a detached café and also a garden walk where visitors can spend a few pleasant moments while waiting for the next tour.
Many distilleries open to the public offer a whole range of experiences for their visitors, possibly topping the rank is Glengoyne Distillery near Glasgow with no less than seven different tours to choose from.
The Glen Grant visitor centre on the other hand clearly favors a no-fuss approach as it only offers one kind of tour. The same philosophy is reflected in their line-up of single malts, by the way. The tour goes for a moderate £5 and includes the visit itself, a £2-voucher for the distillery shop and two drams.
I had the good fortune to have tour guide Andrew showing me around. He is not only very pleasant and professional in his explanations, but also knowledgeable and has a lot of background stories to tell. In short, a seasoned pro who is able to bring the tour to life!
As always, the still house is one of the highlights of the visit. The four pairs of stills with their huge purifiers are a quite remarkable view! The latter where apparently invented at this very distillery, something I was not aware of before.
The tour includes a look into the bottling plant on site which is a rarity since I did not see that anywhere else in recent years.
My very enjoyable visit ended with a tasting of two Glen Grant single malts. The first dram you actually pour yourself from the bottles of Major’s Reserve placed on the table in the visitor centre. This is their standard expression, available for an unbelievable £22 at the distillery. Alas, it is a bit on the youngish side with hints of feints in the nose and a bit harsh for my taste.
The second dram was the 10yo, a vatting of 80% Bourbon-matured and 20% Sherry-matured. It might be lacking body and is almost too light in character for my taste, but is still a very enjoyable tipple. (Tip: if you want to buy a bottle, go for the 12 year old which comes for £30 after deduction of the ticket voucher and is a much better drink)
- Great tour guide
- Tour includes all parts of the production plus bottling hall
- Photography is welcomed everywhere
- Very reasonable fee
- Great visitor centre and tasting area
- Well stocked shop
- Access to garden
- Open all year, seven days a week
- Only one kind of tour available
The Glen Grant Distillery tour is a highly recommended experience for novices and experienced whisky nerds alike. You see everything up close, feel the heat, smell the aromas. One of the liveliest and best distillery tours available.
Big thumbs up for the sentence ‘you are welcome to take photographs everywhere’ at the beginning of the tour!
WhiskyPic’s Distillery Tour Rating – Glen Grant (Speyside)
Opening times: open all year, seven days a week, last tour at 4 p.m. (click here for details)
Fee: £5 (includes 2 drams and a £2 voucher to be used in the distillery shop)
Phone: 01340 832 118