6.9 (139)
Year opened:
Rothes, Morayshire, AB38 7BS
Glen Grant Distillery website
Glen Grant

The story of Glen Grant Distillery

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In 1840, former smuggling brothers John and James Grant decided to take out a licence. With the sea and port of Garmouth nearby, the River Spey at its feet, peat in the vicinity, and barley-growing plains in close proximity, all the basic ingredients of malt whisky were readily available.The two “Sons of Malt”, John and James Grant had found the one place on earth where Glen Grant Single Malt Scotch Whisky could be made.

A new ‘Glen Grant’

By 1872, the founders of Glen Grant Distillery had passed away. Young James ‘The Major’ Grant, just 25 at the time, had always taken a keen interest in the distillery, and having inherited the business and the title ‘Glen Grant’ from his uncle John Grant, intended to prove himself a worthy successor.

Boom and expansion

Stories about The Major abound. A legendary innovator, socialiser and traveller, he lived by his own rules and set his own standards. New ideas fascinated him and he wasn’t afraid to explore them. He was the first man in the Highlands to own a car. Glen Grant was the first distillery to have electric lighting. He introduced the tall slender stills and purifiers which created the fresh malty flavour and clear colour that defines Glen Grant Single Malt Scotch Whisky to this day.

The Second Distillery

Over 25 years after The Major took over Glen Grant, he decided to build a second distillery across the road from the first. Originally called ‘Glen Grant 2’, and later known as Caperdonich, after the well from which both distilleries draw their water from to this day, the distillery was connected to the original building via an underground pipeline through which the whisky was run.

An end and a beginning

In 1931, Major Grant, the last of the Grants, died, leaving behind his three daughters and one of the most famous distilleries in the world. Douglas MacKessack, his grandson, was his successor.

The family expands

In 1972, the Glenlivet and Glen Grant Distilleries Ltd merged with the blending concerns of Hill, Thomson and Co. Ltd and Longmorn Distilleries Ltd to become The Glenlivet Distillers Ltd. The original family interest in the distilleries was maintained, with two substantial outside shareholders: Courage Ltd, the brewing concern and Suntory Ltd, the Japanese distilling company.

New ownership

In 2006, Gruppo Campari acquired Glen Grant from Pernod Ricard. To this day, Glen Grant continues to be one of the greatest selling single malts worldwide.

A new chapter

In 2008 Gruppo Campari completed the rebranding and rebuilding of Glen Grant’s image with the inauguration of the new visitor centre that welcomes visitors into the uniquely different whisky experience that is Glen Grant.

The Production

Simplicity is at Glen Grant’s core. It is borne out of a combination of highland spring water, heat, malted barley, and yeast, experience and a dedication to excellence. No tricks or gimmicks, just a time-honoured process that has been perfected over centuries.Glen Grant is made distinctly different thanks to the vision of James 'The Major' Grant. The light, yet complex spirit that is Glen Grant is the result of the tall slender stills and special purifiers he introduced over a century ago and continue to be used today. The Major knew his customers were looking for an alternative to the heavy, assertive whiskies but unlike many other whisky makers, he wasn't prepared to compromise by developing a blend.Glen Grant's unique colour develops as it is stored carefully in oak casks and matures over time, creating clear, fresh, natural whisky, with a distinctive single malt taste. Just as it should be.

170 Years of Excellence and Experience

So many years of whisky making, so few men involved. This short list illustrates the names of the Master Distillers selected to oversee the production process and ensure all materials and procedures were of the utmost quality.Pre 1898 George Grant1898-1941 James Cumming1941-1969 James Smith1969-1983 Ernest Sherret1983-1992 Dennis Malcolm1992-1996 Willie Mearns1996-2005 Robert Mac Pherson2005-2006 Hamish Proctor2006 - Dennis MalcolmGlen Grant’s entire history of Master Blenders features just a select few. Over almost 170 years, only four names have been involved: the founding brothers, John and James Grant, James’ son, ‘The Major’ Grant, his grandson, Major Douglas MacKessack, and Albert Stephen, who was introduced to Glen Grant by Major MacKessack and worked alongside him.Albert Stephen remains Master Blender to this day, continuing a direct line from Glen Grant’s founding fathers to the present and ensuring that the distinctive characteristics and quality of Glen Grant Single Malt Scotch Whisky can be enjoyed by a new generation.

The Gardens

The Glen Grant Distillery is also known for its beautiful landscaped gardens. Established by The Major himself in 1886, they were a point of pride for him and his visitors would often take long walks through the green as well as explore the exotic conservatories. At one point there were 15 gardeners employed solely to tend the 27 acres that included vast greenhouses as well as a large and functional kitchen garden.Today, the garden is re-opened to the public after its extensive restoration which began in 1993 and ended in 1996. It remains an extraordinary testament to late 19th century Victorian gardening style.

Source: Glen Grant