I hang out on Twitter quite a bit. There are tons of knowledgeable whisky folk that share their tasting notes, thoughts and impressions of their favourite drams. There is also a lot of interaction with many of the whisky distilleries, brands and online retailers.
It was while reading through all these tweets that I started hearing about Grant’s Ale Cask whisky. I then tried to find out where to get it here in South Africa only to find out that I couldn’t. Currently we only get the Grant’s Family Reserve – why I’m not entirely sure. I’ve helped myself to many a Family Reserve dram whilst visiting the in-laws and must say it definitely helped the time pass more pleasurably. I moaned a bit on Twitter about not being able to try the Ale Cask, and you know what? Grant’s was listening!
I was contacted by Rebecca at Grant’s and she said that they would happily send me a sample. I love how these big brands care about their consumers and go that extra mile to help out. A couple of weeks later my little blue bottle arrived and I unpacked my parcel. (I always love unwrapping something that’s arrived in the mail – don’t you?)
Along with the sample and a handwritten note from Rebecca was a little brochure extolling the virtues of the brand and their whiskies: “Grant’s is the world’s most awarded blended Scotch whisky”. Indeed! I was also enlightened to the rest of the Grant’s range: Grant’s Sherry Cask, Grant’s 12 Year Old and Grant’s 25 Year Old – all of which are unavailable here as far as I know. Way to rub it in people! 😉
I decided that it wouldn’t be fair to hog this sample all to myself, so I shared it with Ryan and Colin – both erstwhile Modderfontein Whisky Club members. So how did it taste you ask? Sweet, honeyed taste with a definite creaminess, almost malty, which is not surprising considering the Edinburgh Ale casks the whisky sits in for a few months. Ryan and Colin tasted a hint of beer in the background.
I’ve never been that fond of beer and that bias comes across to the Ale Cask for me too. It’s an ok dram, but not one I would rush out to buy. Ryan and Colin really enjoyed the taste and would buy themselves a bottle if it was available here.
So based on this (admittedly small) focus group, 2 out of 3 South Africans would buy Grant’s Ale Cask if it was available here. My suggestion to Grant’s South Africa is that they should bring some bottles in, set up some tasting sessions in the townships and more affluent areas and get some feedback. We know South Africans love their beer, football and rugby, so who knows, this could be a great market for the only whisky in the world matured in ale casks?
On a final note, I just want to thank Rebecca and the Grant’s team for paying attention to what their followers on Twitter are saying and for sending me the sample.