Colour: The Grant is of a pale gold and the Redbreast of an amber colour. The texture of the Redbreast shows medium fast legs and small late sticky tears while the Grant shows a fatter oiliness with late slow legs and fat sticky tears.
Nose: The Redbreast offers a typical Irish fruity profile within a strong wooden setting and some hints of sherry aromas. I like that but it is not earth-moving. The Grant's nose is less fruitier but on a very nice green apples and peaches profile (almost like a cider). It is nicely balanced with the wooden and barley aromas, very subtle and delicate. Both are very good but I like the Grant a little more than the Irish.
Initial Mouthfeel: The Grant arrives coating and a little peppery on the palate with no distracting moments. The mouthfeel of the Redbreast is less coating and more hot with some slight adstringent feelings due to heavy tannins. It is more that of a Bourbon than of an Irish whisky. Guess what I like more...
Taste: The Redbreast offers a somewhat bourbon-ish taste profile, too. Heavy wooden notes combine with sweet sherry flavours and a lot of fruity aromas. Actually, I like that combo because it is balanced and powerful. The Grant is much more delicate here on barley sugars, spices, herbs and fruits in a quite complex profile. Nicely balanced too but less powerful than the Irish. Instead it is multi-layered and offers more impressions the longer you chew it. Both are really good but very different and I go for a draw on this dimension.
Finish: The Grant offers a long and sticky finish that nicely vanishes in waves without any distracting moment. It is more fruitier than the taste. The Redbreast has a medium long finish basically on the same profile as is the taste. The woods are even stronger here and the fruits hide in the background. Nevertheless very enjoyable but I like the Grant again better on this dimension.
Some water turns the Redbreast even more bourbon-ish (stronger wooden flavours both in the nose and on the palate) and because I am not a Bourbon fan I like the balanced neat dram more. The Grant releases more aromas and flavours with water added and gets smoother (but less powerful, too). I like to nose the Grant reduced and drink it neat.
Both drams are quite nice and flawless, of course. But again the Bourbon-lover Jim selected his preferred profile not just as the winning whisky but for the second place, too (what else should he do?). The Redbreast is a very bourbon-style Irish while the Glen Grant is a typical delicate and subtle Scotch. Both will not rock the whisky world (as most of Jim's favourite drams) but are examples of carefully crafted drams. But that is what Jim preferres...