Colin Dunn with bottle of 20yo Port Dundas
Grain distilleries are not as romantic as their Malt counterparts, but they produce much more whisky, more efficiently and though the vast amount of what they produce bulks up the world's blended whiskies, when matured in good casks and looked after (usually for a substantial period), Single Grain whisky is well worth exploring.
Diageo have produced a fairly young (no age statement) single grain Cameron Brig for some years, which is fairly readily available and can be obtained for less than £20, but don't judge Single Grain on Cameron Brig. A little more investment will reveal a wonderful range of single Grain whisky at very reasonable prices (compared age for age with Malt whisky). The vast majority of Single Grain, is bourbon matured and bottled independently, but Diageo released a 20yo Port Dundas in 2011 which has been matured in a mixture of bourbon, sherry and new oak.
Blended Grain is fairly unusual, but Compass Box have been producing Hedonism for several years. More recently the Famous Grouse have produced Snow Grouse, I've not tasted this.
Currently only Loch Lomond distils both Grain and Malt in the same distillery - and they sell a Single Blend. Although the distilleries have different names, Ailsa Bay and Girvan, are on the same site, so I suppose a Single Blend could result. Several other distilleries have had Grain and Malt on the same site - eg Ben Wyvis at Invergordon, Ben Nevis and Lochside.
Independent bottlers of Single Grain include, SMWS, Duncan Taylor, Douglas Laing (Clan Denny), Speyside Distillery (Scott's Selection/Private Cellar), Signatory, Berry Bros, Bladnoch Forum, Cadenhead.
Outside Scotland, some distilleries are not so shy about bottling their own Grain - Prior to their sale to Jim Beam, Irish distillers,Cooley produced 8yo and 18yo Single Grain as Greenore - not yet clear what the plans for grain will be under the new owners. Nikka's Coffey Grain - made in Japan with a still imported from Scotland in 1963 - and from South Africa, Bain's Cape Mountain Whisky are two Grain whiskies worth tasting - and not too expensive either.
LFW RMW TWE
You won't find too many bars selling Single Grain whisky other than SMWS - I shall have to try to compile a list!
Page Updated 14/01/13
North of Scotland
Strathmore (North of Scotland)
Distilleries (Home Page)