Nose: Immediately engaging and very clearly one of my preferred styles with sherried drams. It is simultaneously mellow and powerful, which portends good things in both the development of the nose as well as on the palate. Instead of being particularly fruit-forward, the savory elements are doing much of the work. There's an earthiness and salinity that would normally point me towards tobacco, soy sauce, and forest floor (dead leaves, mushrooms, etc.). I believe the Cadenhead notes mention Worcestershire sauce, which I won't argue at all. None of this is to say that the cask has entirely overwhelmed the spirit. You can pick out a well-aged Speysider in there with the hallmark notes of beeswax and classy maltiness. Having both these elements present is a real asset. As for fruit, it's not totally absent; one can detect some very dark cherries. A few drops of water emphasize the umami and salty, but also bring out some dark chocolate.
Taste: Terrific arrival. The first two things I'm assessing, as usual, are the viscosity and any traces of unpleasant heat. On the former, it is pleasantly mouth-coating and thick without being syrupy. Within the style, that's pretty much exactly what I'd like. As for heat, I didn't particularly expect any given the relatively low cask strength. Expectations met. The fruit is more salient here: again dark cherries, blackberries, and other fresh-but-intensely-colored fruits. That specificity is to primarily imply that I don't detect a ton of strong, dried-fruit notes. Given the overall profile, I find that brings a refreshing vibrancy. Water here spices things up a bit, and while that doesn't always suit my tastes, I think here it further balances an already impressively complex dram.
Finish: Quite good. You finally feel a little oak, but nothing at all out of proportion for a 31 yo. It's well-integrated with the dark fresh fruit and earthy tones. Water takes some of that drying feeling out. Overall, I think just a couple drops of water improves the experience.
Comments: One quick thing: I don't normally comment on the appearance in the glass beyond the color. Here, I'll just note that this Glen Grant produces some pretty robust legs.
That being said, I chased this bottle at auction for over a year, several times being stymied by some last-minute bids that put it just outside what I felt like spending at the moment. Earlier this year, I finally got lucky and snagged one for right at my limit. I'm quite glad I did. This is a real winner that gives you just about everything you'd want in a well-aged sherried Speysider.
Honestly, given the unfortunate way prices are trending with anything 25 yo+ among the indies, if you can get this for the approximately 250 GBP that I paid, you should do it without thinking twice. Cadenhead are always on the better part of the spectrum in terms of pricing, and the secondary market was, at least when I purchased, still reflecting that.