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Issue 54 - Don't go against the grain

Whisky Magazine Issue 54
March 2006


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Don't go against the grain

Despite views to the contrary,grain whisky can be pretty sensational - and great value for money.

My prejudice against grain whiskies was seriously shaken recently when I encountered a 39 year old Invergordon grain, from Duncan Taylor.

It was in the company of eight malts, all more than 30 years old and to my astonishment the Invergordon was possibly the best of the lot. I could hardly believe it: my snobbish certainty lay in pieces on the floor. It was enough to stir up my interest in grain whisky, and it appears that I am not alone. Some Independent bottlers are responding to (and indeed driving) a swell of interest in single grains.

Signatory has recently bottled some 11 year old North British and Cadenheads has a clutch of single grains, including a 19 year old North British, a 10 year old Port Dundas, and a very rare 31 year old Lochside single grain.

But Duncan Taylor probably has the biggest range of interesting single grain whiskies, including Invergordon 1965, Port Dundas 1973, Cameronbridge 1979, Carsebridge 1979, North British 1978 and Strathclyde 1973. Even the Scotch Malt Whisky Society has bottled its first single grain: a 13 year old North British and the world's first organic grain whisky, Da Mhile, is being sold by a farmer in Wales.

John Glaser, innovator of Compass Box, says he was “blown away” by a “rich, delicious and approachable” 12 year old Cameronbridge in his Johnnie Walker days and when he set up Compass Box the first whisky he presented to the world was Hedonism: an award-winning vatted grain.

John waxes lyrical, almost poetic abou...

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