Grangestone Bourbon Cask Finish Review & Tasting Notes

boubon-cask-tube-and-bottleI’m walking through Total Wine (and More, though I don’t know anyone who says that part!), a cart full of beer and wine, when I see a random display of scotch in the middle of the aisle. Our cart is jammed because we’re having a birthday party this weekend (it’s for a four year old but kids have parents and parents need survival supplies too!) but it had room for another bottle.

There’s always room for another bottle.

Grangestone. Bourbon finish. $25.

Eh, why not? I knew that Grangestone wasn’t a private label by Total Wine, unlike Shieldaig, so I thought I’d give it a try. It did, after all, win a gold medal at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

This NAS whisky is 40% abv and it is first matured in traditional American oak, followed by a finish in first fill bourbon casks.

Tasting Notes:

  • Nose: Vanilla, floral, hint of raisin and toffee
  • Taste: Smooth, again the floral and a little spice, not much sweetness.
  • Finish: Goes pretty quickly, not memorable.

It’s OK, not my favorite and I wouldn’t get it again. I don’t dislike it, it’s just young, tastes young, feels young, and that might be my excuse to leave it in my case for a while (yes yes, I know it won’t do anything).

A quick search online found a two year old post on Reddit where someone sleuth that it might be Kininvie. Kininvie is one of the three (the others being Glenfiddich and Balvenie) that go into Monkey Shoulder.

Personally, I’d spend more and go with Monkey Shoulder. And throw those stupid spirits competition awards out the window… Shieldaig won a Gold too and I found that to be on the other side of bad. Grangestone Bourbon Cask is not bad, just not great and likely worth the $25 price tag… if I didn’t have a blend I like better in that range.

27 thoughts on “Grangestone Bourbon Cask Finish Review & Tasting Notes

  1. I’ve had a few of these Grangestones and agree that they’re unremarkable, with one exception. There’s a new NAS Blended Islay Malt for $27.99 and it tastes, in my opinion, something between Ardbeg and Laphroiag. If you like your scotch peaty, this is an inexpensive way of getting there.

    • Very nicely put. Generic Scotch? Most flavored alcohol (root beer, apple, mango) has more taste – and sells for half the price.

  2. I also picked up a bottle of this at Total Wine recently and am my experience mirrors your review. The Grangestone Bourbon Cask isn’t bad, it is just about as unexceptional as an (allegedly) single malt Scotch, or even a blend, can be. I won’t purchase another.

  3. I actually love the Shieldaig 18 year old. It never lasts long at my house – I could take or leave the 12 year old though. Slainte!

    • Everyone’s palate is different and sometimes certain flavors are stronger for some, but if you enjoy it then you have a steal of an 18yo scotch at that price!

  4. Don’t feel bad, Jim. I’ve drank more disgusting stuff than you by far over the many years because I am both old AND poor. LOL.
    It’s all about the journey…and an occasional great find for the buck along the way!

  5. Agreed on your notes. Not terrible, not terribly good either. For $5 more, I can have a Glenmorangie Original. For $5 (or $10) less, I can have one of several relatively palatable bourbons. So there’s really no point to it for me. I can have slightly more expense and a much better whisky, or less expense for a drink at least as good, if not better (just not scotch.)

    OTOH I can’t say I know of a better scotch whisky at that price point, and I recommended it once to someone who was buying real rotgut stuff, and I think stepped up his palate permanently. So even if it’s not my cup of tea, it has a place in the spectrum.

  6. Well, I’ve never tried this one, or anything else with the word “Bourbon” in it. This is mainly because of upbringing. Once I was of drinking age my father, who loved his drink, never touched a bourbon. (I used to joke that he was the sort that would drink anything flammable as long as it wasn’t poisonous.) Once, we were at a party and the host offered us a bourbon and my father politely declined. The stunned host exclaimed to my father “But you drink ANYTHING!” to which I offered my quip. My father did drink many different kinds of liquor, scotch, whiskey, brandy, rum, etc., but he never went for the “bottom of the birdcage” stuff. He preferred the everyday man’s price range which offered some good drinks. But there was something about bourbon that put him off and his comment on that was “That stuff will kill you.” Now for the rest of the story (echoing the late Paul Harvey), someone I used to know who was well-versed in scotches and whiskeys, had told me that bourbons were “fortified” with some grain alcohol. I only have his word on that, but it could explain my father’s aversion to bourbons and his “That stuff will kill you” comments. But having been brought up with that teaching I’ve stayed away from bourbons, and after reading Jim’s review, I’m thinking, maybe my father – and my well-versed friend – were right. So, I’m going to keep away from bourbons. (That stuff will kill you!) ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Well I think you missed the mark on this one. This is the best deal at Total Wine. One of the best flavors I’ve tasted in a while. I am more of a bourbon/whisky drinker than a single malt scotch drinker although I do enjoy both. I would not put this Grangestone in the single malt scotch category as it tastes nothing like a single malt. I can’t stop buying this stuff!

    • I agree with you 100%, Jim.

      I’ve had other scotch and whisky that were hyped up to be amazing only to find them sub-par. I picked up a bottle of Grangestone Sherry on a whim and I was blown away with not only the aroma, but the deliciousness of the whole package. The taste lingered for quite a while and the scent reminded me of delicious breakfast oatmeal. Perhaps it’s the raisiny/maple notes? I dunno. It’s just an all around great starter Scotch for the price. I had it straight and loved it. Added an ice ball garnish to it and it just made it better.

      I went back and bought 3 more bottles just to stock up. I highly recommend it.

    • I agree, I usually drink Lagavulin 16 yr. single barrel or Macallans and I was in Total Wine and Spirits and picked up a Grangestone Rare Cask Limited Edition
      and found it very tasty, a little young, and too short at the finish but the peaty smoke flavor made me want to chew not swallow it! Just bought my second bottle. When the wallet is thick I’ll jump ship and have my more pricey scotches

    • I mostly agree, it’s a pleasant, with a more than modest amount of water, experience that can be enjoyed at a pleasant price. So what’s not to like. Make your everyday experiences a little better, too!

  8. A friend gave me a bottle of Grangestone Bourbon Finish yesterday. I had never heard of it, no distillery was listed on the bottle, so I feared it might be yet another “Old Cutthroat” blended from the dregs of leftover casks from 15 distilleries. Expecting a cheap marketing job, I was surprised to find a most agreeable Scotch that seemed to be a Speysider, or maybe a Glenmorangie. Smooth, flavorsome, with a somewhat oily feel to it, relatively rich flavored, albeit with a fast finish. I saw an online posting that guessed at Kinvinie as the source, since William Grant own that and Glenfiddich and Balvenie. I would rate this as a Glenfiddich with more depth. Balvenie? My favorite Speysider, but not the source of this whisky, which is much more oily and has a fuller flavor. Summary: half a bottle disappeared between four in no time, three of them admittedly not being whisky experts. I would be more than happy to see another bottle of the same appear in my whisky cabinet. And, a steal at the price., costing the same as many blends.

  9. I am trying the Grangestone Bourbon cask for the first time right now (2/2/16). I asked for this for Christmas from my sister because it was pennypinching time for her (She has 5 kids under 15.). I had no expectations of this whiskey. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was more than palatable. To my palate it actually had some character. Nothing remarkable but all in all is seen well-rounded for what it is – a $25 scotch. Will I rush down to my local Total Wine to buy a case? Of course not.

    Now to cleanse my palate with the Glenlivet Archive 21.

  10. I am a really big fan of Scotch, and a HUGE fan of Bourbon. This is Ok, and I have bought it twice. It’s enjoyable, but the truth is Scotch and Bourbon are best left on their own–not mixed together. There are some more decent Scotches in this price range, and some absolutely fantastic small bath Bourbons in this price range. I don’t think I will buy it a third time; there’s just better options. Kudos to them for trying the mix of flavors though.

  11. In an attempt to track down the distillery I came across this… It states it “GRANGESTONE is a product created by William Grant & Sons Limited in The Glenfiddich Distillery, Dufftown, Banffshire, Scotland.” Which, if accurate, leads me to believe it is a Glenfiddich product that, when matured, did not result in the classic Glenfiddich taste, so is being sold under a different name for less.

  12. I find the Grangestone finishes (Bourbon, Sherry, Rum) to be very good value, pleasant “table” whiskies. Perfectly fine to sip while reading, working on the computer or watching sports on the television. As others have noted, nothing wrong or unpleasant about them, but a good distance from the apex of malt whiskies.

  13. First tried Grangestone the taste is okay… it’s not memorable something wrong with my palate maybe but I don’t like the aftertaste of it.

  14. If you can find it on sale, do it. Got it here in PL for around 18$ American and its not bad. Not great, but for under 20, Id definitely try it out. Tasting notes are quite the same as above.

  15. As a longtime single malt drinker I was gifted a bottle. Never heard of it. Seems to be being pushed by Total Wine. Price is certainly attractive but youโ€™ll never convince anyone this is anywhere in the same league with Lavagulin 16 or a Macallen 12. But, to be fair, pretty good value at the $26 price point. You can get four bottles of this for the price of one bottle of like a Lagavulin 16 but clearly thatโ€™s comparing apples and oranges.
    Found it a bit oily, not overly peaty, but a satisfying drink, again, at the price point.

  16. I’m not a huge fan of the Bourbon cask finish, but I love the Sherry cask finish. It’s something I moved to after Aberlour 16 hit over $100 a bottle a few years ago. While the Grangestone is not anywhere on the same level as the Aberlour, I found the Sherry cask finish, to be an unbeatable value at $25 a bottle. Certainly better then anything similarly priced.

  17. Not bad stuff for the price. In my (expensive) neck of the woods it can still be found (with Total Wine’s 10% off or $5 off “deals”) for around $25. I don’t know of any Scotch that still sells for what it did 7 years ago.

    I don’t usually go for NAS stuff because you can never be sure what you’re getting but this is a decent everyday sipper for (no more than) high $20s with tax.

    However, usually I’ll go with the Grangestone 12 year because, for a few bucks more, you know you’re getting something that was put in casks at least 12 years ago (even if it is a blend).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.