Beer and whisky continue to merge from both ends of the spectrum (whether its barrel-aged beers or beer cask-aged spirits like Glenfiddich IPA Cask Finish), and the latest member of the family is this (from the same company that produced the Glenfiddich IPA Cask): Grant’s Ale Cask Finish.
Grant’s version is a major value in comparison to its $70 big brother, but for $20 you get the same kind of idea. Instead of a single malt, Grant’s a blend, which is finished for four months in ale casks from a small microbrewery in Scotland (they don’t say which).
Grant’s Ale Cask Finish is technically the first in a series of differently finished Cask Editions from Grant’s, with three expressions now available.
As for No. 1, the nose is typical of a modest blend — honeyed grains, heather, and some nougat — all very light and fragrant, without any real hint of the ale cask finish. The palate is quite sweet but reasonably light in body, with notes of baked apples, quince jelly, and orange blossom honey — all fresh and easygoing right up to the finish, where some of that ale cask impact can finally be felt. Here some bitterness creeps into the whisky, hinting at hops without overwhelming things, taking you on a slightly different journey than you get with a typical blended Scotch. I also get a little kick of dark chocolate on the back end.
Grant’s Ale Cask Edition isn’t an unqualified knockout, but it’s a winning whisky that is pushed into “A” territory thanks to an absurdly reasonable price that puts it on the same shelf as any number of very affordable but wholly anonymous blends. The ale cask finish doesn’t exactly add enough to make it completely unique, but it does at least allow the whisky to stand out enough to merit recommending.
A- / $20 / grantswhisky.com