Released in June 2014, exclusively to Tesco in the first instance, Grant’s Signature was an attempt to give the young people what they want in the spirits market. Aren’t enough people drinking whisky already, without encouraging the young to take their share of the depleting stocks? Let’s wait for some of the old duffers to die off first, eh? Anyway, from what I remember about being young, what they want is something cheap they can knock back before going out, or enjoy with ice since they won’t have figured out how to enjoy whisky yet… so is that what this is for?
I’m not sure how long the exclusivity lasted, but I picked it up in Sainsburys for £16, which represents a few quid off, but still places it comfortably above the price of your standard supermarket blends.
I’ve been reasonably impressed with Grant’s’ affordable output so far – the Family Reserve, Ale Cask and Sherry Cask editions all provide value for money and fill that gap in your drinks cabinet that requires an uncomplicated whisky for drinking early in the evening, or cheekily adding to your uninspiring lager. I’m hoping it turns out to be a completely different product to the three mentioned above, and not just a re-branding (it isn’t) – a scam I’ve fallen for before – looking at you, Dewar’s…
The Signature is presented in the usual triangular type bottle, but also has a flimsy blue box that it doesn’t quite fit in snugly. It is bottled at a standard 40% and is said to be malty and offer biscuity tones. Can a whisky aimed at the inexperienced drinker’s market also satisfy a more fussy drinker? Let’s find out.
The first thing you’re going to notice about the Signature is that it is very pale. I actually consider that to be a good thing in cheap blends, since it suggests a minimal amount of artificial colouration has been employed, and it makes a change from that brown whisky that just seems to be standard for blended scotch. So far so good.
On the palate, as you’d expect for a sub £20 blend, there’s a hefty whack of grain so, keeping the youth market in mind, you wonder, how is this going to appeal to that market? I hear a lot of inexperienced drinkers complaining that whisky is too harsh or it burns, so how is this supposed to convince anyone differently?
Ok, so moving on; what happens when you drink it properly (as I call it)? You know, you hold it in your mouth, swish it around, and swallow it bit by bit – thus effectively mixing your saliva in with it and reducing the potential burning and choking effects… well, it turns out to be pretty good – better than that even. There’s a mouthwatering sweetness overriding any roughness that a whisky lover on a low budget could really get on board with. And therein lies the problem: you have to treat it with the respect you’d afford a fine single malt to get the best out of it, so I find it hard to believe Grant’s are going to be able to win over any of the young generation they’re supposedly aiming for.
The overall conclusion then, is that this is a quality low-priced gem. It’s name, Signature, makes it sound less special and sought after than Family Reserve, but I think this is actually the better of the two expressions and a worthy choice to be considered the signature Grant’s expression. Really well done, Grant’s. I’ll keep coming back as long as you keep producing some quality low priced blends. Now though, I think it’s time I spent a bit more on a blend to see where that can take us…
And so ends my 200th post. I know! 200! Next week I'll be beginning my third century with a post about 10 year old Armagnac, Baron de Signognac. Join me then.