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Whisky Review – Glen Grant Five Decades

South Africa is a good place to be right now. The weather in Joburg is great and we’re getting an influx of new whiskies from all around the world. A prime example is the Glen Grant Five Decades being reviewed here. After establishing the core range in the country, Edward Snell & Co (local representation of Glen Grant) have now brought in the limited edition Five Decades.

Glen Grant Five Decades close-up

Glen Grant is one of those distilleries (there are still many) that have eluded me for quite some time. I did have a brief taste of the standard Glen Grant range available in South Africa – the Major’s Reserve, 10 year old and 16 year old – a little while back, but it was at the end of a whisky show, so my recollections are a tad blurry.

I do however remember the rather spectacular Glen Grant 170th Anniversary expression which Glen Grant’s Master Distiller, Dennis Malcolm, presented to us at Whisky Live last year on the Connoisseur’s Tour. Dennis was in top form on the night, sharing his insights and humour with equal measure. The 170th Anniversary whisky we tasted was in my top 3 whiskies for the entire festival – rich, toffee and vanilla with plenty of fruit and a hint of peat, so I had high expectations for the Five Decades release that has recently graced our shores.

Why is it called Five Decades?

What we have is a limited edition whisky (12000 bottles in total) from Glen Grant which has been produced to commemorate Dennis Malcolm’s 50 years at the distillery. Can you imagine working at the same place for half a century!? Mind boggling stuff. But that’s exactly what Dennis has done, starting out as an apprentice cooper in the early 60s and then working his way up through the ranks. Dennis’ achievements are lengthy, but some of them include being the mastermind behind the current range of The Major’s Reserve, 10yo and 16yo as well as the 170th Anniversary I enjoyed so much.

Back to the whisky though. Dennis has hand picked casks from each decade that he’s been with Glen Grant ranging from the 1960s all the way up to the 2000s and then married them together to produce the limited edition I’m tasting now.

Tasting Glen Grant Five Decades

What does Glen Grant Five Decades taste like?

Nose: Honey, creamy toffee, vanilla and apricots.

Palate: Cereal, honey and oats with more toffee. Plenty of fruits: peaches, apricots, melon and some sultanas. A hint of vanilla custard? Slightly nutty too.

Finish: A lengthy sweet and smooth finish, with the fruits slowly fading away.

Overall: A liquid creamy dessert! Adding a drop of water (not too much!) tends to sweeten it even more.

How much does V Decades cost?

You should find the Glen Grant Five Decades on the shelves here in South Africa for around R1200 a bottle.


This isn’t a whisky that will appeal to everyone, what with it’s deceptively light and creamy style seemingly at odds with its fairly hefty price tag. People want a big bank for their buck. However, you’ll be missing out on an artfully crafted whisky. The sweet and creamy nose lulls you into a false sense of security and then the dram hits your tongue and there’s a great build up of complex fruity flavours which have you reaching for the bottle to pour some more.


Thanks to the folks at Edward Snell & Co. for the sample.

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