Whisky Magazine Issue 51
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Our mystery visitor discovers a melancholy garden at Glen Grant
I visited Glen Grant on a late summer's day, keenly anticipating a stroll in the famous gardens (that's middle age for you).
However, though it may be a truism, first impressions do count for a lot. Unfortunately, after parking your car, the first thing you see here is a sign directing you to the visitor centre. Nothing wrong with that, you might think, but this sign is rotting away. One good kick and it would fall over.
This kind of thing is a symptom, more important for what it tells you than the thing itself. It is easily fixed – but no-one has bothered.
Perhaps it's because Glen Grant feels unloved. Our tour began with the guide recounting the distillery's various changes of ownership and then observing, rather dolefully, “and now we're for sale again” as she outlined the consequence of Pernod's acquisition of the Allied portfolio.
It's an unavoidable result of globalisation that distilleries such as Glen Grant, with a proud heritage and a long tradition, are reduced to bargaining counters in unseemly corporate haggling.
“I'll swap you a single malt for your New Zealand winery, and that will keep the regulators off our back”, says MegaCorp.
“Done,” says Global Drinks Inc and the workers get a new logo on their overalls.
Anyway, perhaps that explained the air of genteel decay around the place. I found some more rotten signs, the rustic benches needed maintenance and the gents was in semidarkness for want of a lightbulb. Again, little things easily fixe...