Grain Henge Single Malt – Elevator Row

When a brand new distillery releases their first whisky and it’s as well received as GrainHenge’s Meeting Creek, there is always a danger that the follow up release will be a bit of a letdown. Meeting Creek was the biggest and best surprise of 2021 for me: I believe I described it as pure chocolate malty goodness. The latest release, Elevator Row, had some big shoes to fill. I am very happy to say that the people at GrainHenge have done it again!

Elevator Row uses Troubled Monk’s Pesky Pig pale ale as the inspiration for its mashbill. The combination of 2-row and specialty dark Munich malt is aged for 43 months in both #3 and #4 charred American oak barrels. It was released at full cask strength (58.2%), and produced a limited run of only 440 bottles. 

In the glass: Golden amber in colour. Similar to the original release, Elevator Row appears to have a relatively low viscosity and moves freely in the glass. It coats the sides nicely though, and clings there for a long time. 

Nose: Lots of sweet malted barley. The sweetness is mostly reminiscent of caramels, but there is also some dried candied fruit. Touch of nutmeg. 

Palate: It opens with dried candied fruit and Christmas cake. Caramel and roasted almonds and baking spices mid palate. Slightly creamy mouthfeel too. 

Finish: Lingering sweetness, with some nice oak spice that sticks around for a long time. 

This time, I’m not surprised. The relative youth of both the whisky and the distillery have no relation to the fantastic product GrainHenge is releasing. Garret Haynes has done it again, turning a well-loved brewery staple into a delightful, flavourful whisky. Elevator Row is a slice of spicy caramel Christmas cake. It’s a must have in my opinion, and I hope everyone gets the opportunity to at least try this fantastic dram. 

Dave Woodley

Insta: whiskey_dr

Boulder Spirits American Single Malt Whiskey – Peated Malt – YEGWhiskynights Barrel Pick review

The production of any whisky is invariably the life’s work of multiple individuals. Being in the position to review these whiskies, particularly if you don’t enjoy them, can be an uncomfortable situation. So when PWS asked me to give my thoughts on the @YegWhiskyNights cask selection of the Boulder Peated Malt, it came with some apprehension. Sean is a friend, and an unsavoury bottle could make for some awkward interactions in the future. Thankfully, the @YegWhiskyNights cask is a fantastic example of how extra time in a cask and a higher abv can improve an already enjoyable whisky!

Boulder Spirits was founded by a Scottish-born former Air Force veteran named Alastair Broganwho’s biggest claim to fame was a stint on Survivor: Panama. He always wanted to make whiskey in his homeland, but instead relocated to Boulder, and the rest is part of Colorado whiskey history.

The regular peated malt mash, which is 100% malted barley, is blended with the Eldorado Springs water. It is then placed into 53-gallon, virgin #3 charred American oak barrels for three years. The @YegWhiskyNights release spent an extra 12 months in the cask, and was chosen from several samples for its unique character and flavour profile. 

Appearance: Orange-amber in colour. Moves easily in the glass, doesn’t really coat the sides in any noticeable way. 

Nose: First thing I notice is a rich, earthy mustiness. No smoke, but almost a hint of Japanese umami. There is a clear undertone of stone fruit like ripe peaches or apricots. There is also some heat on the nose, which can be expected based on the 58.8% abv. 

Palate: Surprisingly, there’s a slightly creamy mouth feel for a whisky with low viscosity. The first flavour that hits is reminiscent of flavoured cola, lots of caramel and sweet cherry. This is replaced by a oaky/nuttiness that reveals the character of this particular virgin oak barrel. Delicious. 

Finish: The finish of this whisky starts to show the char of the barrel. There is a wisp of smoke now, not overpowering but clearly evident. This is followed by a spicy pepper that lingers on the tongue for a long time. Slightly drying when the pepper fades. 

With water: A few drops of water in this cask strength whisky adds some subtlety. Light smoke and caramel replace the mustiness, and eases the spiciness of the pepper. I still prefer it without water. 

Conclusion

I wrote this review over 2 nights, including a side by side comparison with the regular peated malt release. Was I supposed to drink a third of the bottle in that time? Maybe. Maybe not. But what that tells me is this whisky is an amazingly easy drinker, especially at 58.8%. It is a significant improvement over the original release, offering a greater depth of flavour and a satisfying spicy finish. I will be adding another bottle of the @YegWhiskyNights selection to my shelf before they disappear forever. Definitely backup bottle worthy. Slainte!

Instagram: @woodley_dr

@yegwhiskynights – Sean McCalder

Glen Grant 15 – Batch Strength

Glen Grant is a Speyside distillery located near Rothes and the river Spey. It was established in 1840 by two brothers, John and James Grant. It was taken over in 1872 by James ‘The Major’ Grant, who was a legendary innovator. James Grant was the first man in the Highlands region to own a car, and under his management the distillery was the first to use electric lights and the tall slender stills that continue to define Glen Grant today. The distillery remained a family-run business until 2006, when they were purchased by the Campari group. Glen Grant continues to be one of the best selling single malts across the globe. The 15 year batch strength Glen Grant is aged in first fill ex-bourbon barrels and bottled at 50% abv.

In the glass: Light yellow-gold, appears thin. Doesn’t coat the glass, moves easily. 

Nose: Sweet vanilla and stone fruits, like peaches and cream. Soft and reminiscent of summer. Maybe a touch of lemony citrus. 

Palate: Surprisingly creamy mouthfeel. Honey and oak. Orchard fruits again, but more pear than peach. Something slightly bitter too, but not unpleasant. 

Finish: Oak and pear. Slightly drying, with an interesting pepper finish.

This whisky, on its own merit, is an enjoyable dram with some nice flavours. When you take into consideration the price of the bottle (~$85), it is almost a must-have. It is also bottled at 50%, which sets it apart from other 15 year old choices. This is an easy decision. The Glen Grant 15 deserves a spot on your shelf. It will have a spot on mine. 

Review written by Dave Woodley

IG: @whiskey_dr