Review: Grants Family Reserve

We’re continuing with blended whisky month here on dramstats and I’ve got some crackers lined up, including a blend trapped under the ice for more than a century!

Today though, I’m reviewing a comforting classic: Grants family cask.

In the blogosphere this has actually become quite a controversial dram owing to the store set to it by Whisky Bible writer and general whisky expert Jim Murray. He gives it 94/100 in his bible, quite a lot better than most of the whisky available, including some of the rarest, oldest and more expensive whisky ever bottled. “The perfect nose to any blend” is high praise indeed from one who has tasted so many.

Grants family reserve is one of what I call the “standard supermarket blends”. Along with Bells, Teachers and Famous Grouse, you can pretty much pick this up anywhere, including in a lot of pubs, and for a good price. As the old adage goes, you get what you pay for, and that is probably what makes Mr Murray’s rating of this blend so controversial.

Still, geekery and controversy aside, this is a blended whisky and it’s one I have bought. Therefore, here is my 2 cents in the form of the dramstats:



  • ABV 40%
  • Price £10 (on deals that ran for a month over christmas in supermarkets)

Nose: Sickly sweet smoke and honey. Pears simmered in golden syrup, liquorice, some woody notes, then orange cordial.

Palate: It’s sweet at first with honey and pipe tobacco, then treacle toffee and cigar stained fingers!

Finish: The honey turns bitter with smoke, oak and some brazil nut shell.

Verdict: It’s whisky. When people say “smells like whisky” this is the dram I think they are talking about. It’s smooth enough and if you can wait for supermarket deals you can get either 70cl or 1l of this very cheap most of the time. A few months ago it was £10 for 70cl. I will be buying it again. It’s great for hot toddies, as a secret adult addition to hot chocolate and is a real bargain when taken on those terms. When you review it for what it is: affordable, easy drinking whisky, it is one of the best examples of its kind.

As for all of the controversy? Put it this way: Taking another blend that Mr Murray rated 94, the Black Bull 40 year old, I know which I’d rather try, and I wouldn’t pay over £100 (as you would for the Black Bull) for a bottle of Grants either. But, thanks to the good folks at William Grants and Sons, I don’t have to and that’s really the point of whisky at this price. Accessible, enjoyable and does what it says on the tin.


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