Grangestone Sherry Cask Finish Single Malt Review & Tasting Notes

Have you heard of the Spirits Direct program at Total Wine & More? If you’re unfamiliar with that, it is a marriage of an independent bottler and something else I can’t describe. You can find many house brands and a few well-known national brands, such as Angel’s Envy, under the Spirits Direct program.


One of the issues with the Spirits Direct program is that you never quite know essential facts about its house-branded whiskeys in the program. You can ask, and they’ll tell you, “This is the same thing as [name brand].” On a side note, please don’t fall for that because it isn’t.


Today I’m sipping Grangestone Sherry Cask Finish. Labeled as a Highland Single Malt Scotch, it is part of that Spirits Direct program, and it may or may not be a Highland Scotch. Back in 2009, the Speyside region was carved from the Highland region. So, theoretically, anything from Speyside could be a Highland, and you wouldn’t get in trouble for labeling it as such.  In my review of Grangestone 12 Year Single Malt, I did some detective work to discover that The Glen Grant owns a company called Quality Spirits International, which owns Grangestone. The Glen Grant is a Speyside distillery.


What can I tell you about the Sherry Cask Finish? Unfortunately, not a lot, other than a 750ml bottle will set you back $29.99, it is 40% ABV (80°), and per Grangestone, it is “matured in quality selected white oak and finished in premium sherry casks.” Breaking through the marketing-speak, former Bourbon barrels, and Spanish sherry casks. It carries no age statement.


I picked up a 50ml taster from Total Wine for $1.99. Now, it is time to #DrinkCurious and learn all about it. 


Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this whisky presented as a gold and orange amber. A thicker rim released a wavy curtain that fell back to the pool. Fat droplets remained behind.


Nose: Honey and green grape were the first aromas to exit the glass. I plucked out a hint of tangerine – not peel but the actual fruit and almond. When I drew the air into my mouth, citrus crossed my tongue. I couldn’t nail it down beyond that.


Palate:  A medium-weight body didn’t offer much as far as flavor is concerned. Repetitive sips left me with nothing sweet or nutty, two characteristic flavors in a sherry finish. It was monotone front-to-back of some sort of wood.


Finish:  That some sort of wood stuck around on my tongue. Was it charred oak? No. Was it sherry oak? Probably. I’m usually able to identify which of the two common types of sherry were used, and this wasn’t typical of either Oloroso or Pedro Ximénez. It was dry, bitter, and chalky, and it was a longer duration.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  The Sherry Cask Finish was not good. Mrs. Whiskeyfellow laughed at me after the first sip and goaded me to take another, then asked me if I was enjoying this. No, I wasn’t, and no matter how many more I took, my palate wasn’t having any of it. I cannot offer any recommendations to improve this one without scrapping the whole thing and starting from scratch. I hope I’m wrong about The Glen Grant being part of this because this would give that a black eye. Grangestone Sherry Cask Finish earns every little bit of my Bust rating.


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.