William Grant & Sons is incredibly consistent with product development when it comes to their whiskies.
Sometimes that’s a bad thing. For example, you won’t find very many cask strength WGS expressions out there. You’d even be hard pressed to find many core bottlings over 48% ABV.
Sometimes, though, the consistency is a good thing. One of the things that I admire most about William Grant brands in the current market is their incredible commitment to age statements. Glenfiddich and Balvenie releases haven’t lost their age statements like some of the other big brands. William Grant did some really great planning before the market boom. They have a LOT of well aged stocks to work with.
This whisky is made at William Grant’s lowland-based Ailsa Bay distillery. These two releases were specifically created to compete with grocery store brands in the UK. Originally priced at £30, they eventually lowered the MRSP to £20. This is designed to compete with blends and cheap IB single malts. William Grant had every reason to make these entry level malts NAS and yet, there’s a 10 year age statement on both bottles. Quite the interesting differentiator at the bottom shelf.
Sea Cask was aged in warehouses near the shore and is designed to be a light a fruity expression. In contrast, Land Cask is a lightly peated malt aged inland and is designed to be bolder and smokier. I’m surprised they decided to focus their efforts on two very different flavor profiles. Perhaps they’re shooting for two different segments of whisky drinkers in one shot.
Let’s give these bottles a try!
|Nose||Melon, sea air, vanilla, apples|
|Taste||Cinnamon, malty, fruit salad, a hint of oak and a bit of syrupy sweetness|
|Finish||Drying, a good bit of spice and some hints of tropical fruit. Fairly short but pleasant.|
|Overall Thoughts||Light and inoffensive with a slightly different flavor profile than your typical entry level Speysiders|
|Nose||Campfire smoke, white pepper, grilled pineapple|
|Taste||Vanilla, heathery peat, honey, burnt sugar|
|Finish||Smoke and floral notes come through first, then a bit of lemon, oak, and barley.|
|Overall Thoughts||The clear counterpart to Sea Cask in its inoffensiveness, even with some smoke influence. Not overly complex but it’s not supposed to be for the price.|
Note: These samples were provided to me by William Grant and Sons at no cost.