A 25 Year Old Grain From the Distillery Built by Television

Built by television?

Well, yes…In 1955 Britain entered the television age, and with it, came TV advertising. Only there were no advertisements for Scotch whisky. The reason is the DCL, which pretty much dominated the industry, and it did not want to get into advertising in this new media. Basically, they took the view that if they weren’t going to advertise, nobody in the industry should.

Photo Credit: potstill.org

Photo Credit: potstill.org

That view held fast until 1962, when Grant’s decided to use “the telly” to advertise their ‘Stand Fast’ brand (Today’s Grant’s Family Reserve). In retaliation, DCL was “suddenly overcome” by an unexpected shortage of grain whisky for the following year, and would thus – regrettably – be unable to supply Grant’s with grain whisky in 1963. Charles Gordon, though, wasn’t a man to back down, and he found a suitable site for a grain distillery in Girvan, and had this distillery up and running in nine months flat!

Grant & Sons has recently begun to market aged Girvan grain whisky, and this bottling by Douglas Laing would fit right in the official bottlings. In fact, it would be very interesting to contrast this expression with the Girvan Patent Still 25 year old….

Anyway, on to our tasting:

Photo Credit: douglaslaing.com

Photo Credit: douglaslaing.com

Douglas Laing Old Particular Single Cask Grain Girvan 25 Year Old, Distilled December 1989, Bottled June 2015, Cask DL10805, 232 Bottles From a Refill Barrel (51.5% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Pale gold, very slow thin legs.

Nose: Very typical grain with earthy cereal, honey, candied apples from the carnival and some freshly mowed grass. A light hint of sweet spices comes through the sweetness, with a note of toffee.

Palate: Intensely sweet, with some pepper. Subsequent sips tip the sacles toward the pepperiness with the addition of a note of green cardamom and marshmallow.

Linger: A long lingering milky sweetness on the tongue, like after eating panna cotta, and a spicy after taste that lingers without overpowering. It leaves a warmth deep down the gullet for quite a long time.


Of the three I’ve tasted so far (I haven’t tasted the Cameronbridge at the time of writing), the Girvan is the most ‘typical’ grain whisky. It’s a little sweet, a little spicy and definitely delivers on a good sipping whisky. It’s not complex, and was really never meant to be…

Official sample provided by Douglas Laing & Co.

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