By Dennis Malcolm, Master Distiller at Glen Grant
Having been born on the Glen Grant grounds, I knew that my future was destined to be linked with the world of whisky.
I started off as an apprentice cooper before moving my way up to working as Master Distiller at Glen Grant. Before me were my father and grand-father, so it was safe to say it was in the cards for me to walk in their footsteps when it came time. Being part of the history and future of such a well known distillery is not something that many can say they’ve had, and I am fortunate enough to be one of the lucky few.
Started by John and James in 1839 as the first distillery in Rothes, Glen Grant has come a long way since its inception. From the start, John took over the distilling at Glen Grant while his brother James had other aspirations as not only a distiller, but politician and innovator. John went to create the lovely Victorian Gardens we have at Glen Grant but James built what is now The Royal Hotel in Elgin. During his time as the Mayor, he funded the railway line from Lossie to Elgin, which later continued into Rothes and developed into an essential means of supply transportation of coal, barley, and casks to the distillery.
James died in 1972, but passed the distillery onto his son who is known at Glen Grant as The Major. Though Young, The Major had a similar innovator gene and later changed the distillation process of the Glen Grant malt by adding purifiers. The changes he made created a fruity, estery malt that is at the heart of ever Glen Grant whisky.
The two most important things of defining the characteristics of a whisky is the distillation process and the type of wood used to mature it. At Glen Grant, we primarily use bourbon american casks and a percentage of sherry casks for our maturation which we believe give our whiskies the best character.
During a tour at Glen Grant we like to offer the opportunity for visitors to get the full treatment. Starting with a tour of the distillery to see the processes of making the spirit, they later visit the warehouses to see a number of casks we use to mature our malt, and then onto our welcoming Visitor Centre where we allow them the opportunity to help themselves to a tasting of the Major Reserve and Glen Grant 10 year old. Afterwards, we always encourage our visitors to take a stroll through our inviting Victorian Gardens or have a coffee in the coffee shop and have a relaxing time at the distillery.
Find further information on opening times and tour information here.