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Grant’s True Tales Come to Manchester

Thea Euryphaessa, Alistair McGowan and the art of listening

Written by . Published on September 14th 2010.

Grant’s True Tales Come to Manchester

Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever. — Ancient Indian Proverb

The tales the storytellers shared over dinner, warmed my heart. Stories make a community of those who gather to listen. They provide a common language in which we can all share. Personally speaking, whisky is one of the few drinks that immediately conjures up images of cosying up by the fire after dinner, sharing tales and anecdotes

On 8 October, Grant’s Whisky will host an evening of real life stories shared by storytellers from around the world, including special guest storyteller and comedian, Alistair McGowan. Each of the storytellers will entertain the audience with compelling, moving, and humorous true tales based around the theme of family. Last Wednesday evening, I was invited along to a special preview of what lies in store.

When the editor informed me Grant’s were hosting a whisky tasting evening, I was reluctant to attend. As exciting as they may sound, tasting events usually consist of a rep who talks at you for an hour or so, telling you why their product is so wonderful. But when he told me there’d be storytelling, my curiosity was piqued. ‘Now that’s more like it,’ I thought ‘whisky and storytelling.’

Grant’s believe we all have a story to tell and it’s that story which makes us who we are today. Theirs is an independent, family-owned Scottish company spanning five generations. Like any other, their family closet is chock full of intriguing stories and heart-warming anecdotes which, unsurprisingly, revolve around their whisky – many of which were shared on the evening. Their booze isn’t bad either.

After a refreshingly fruity, cockle-warming cocktail called a Grant’s Twist (Grant’s Family Reserve, dash of framboise, lemonade, and garnished with lemon), we moved on to a selection of their whiskies. Global whisky ambassador, Ludo Ducrocq talked us through each whisky, including the story behind it and how it’s made.

Whisky is a spirit I’ve always liked the idea of drinking, but, so far, have failed to find one that’s grabbed my palate and reeled me in lock, stock, and oak filled barrel.

Last year, in a further attempt to educate my taste buds, I went so far as to book a private tour of a distillery on Skye. By the end of the tour I was all set for savouring its delights; unfortunately, however, as with many other whiskies I’ve tried, it was just too peaty for me. This lingering smokiness may appeal to many, but frustratingly, not to me. In cocktails, I find whisky (and Bourbon) hard to beat. It adds a depth, warmth, and complexity, few other spirits can. But neat, or on the rocks and I struggle.

Until I sampled Grant’s Ale Cask Reserve.

Soft, buttery, toffee-filled aromas melted across my tongue and slinked down my throat. Matured in oak ale casks, this is a honeyed, well-rounded drink with only a hint of peatiness. If, like me, you’re still trying to find a way into whisky, then I confidently recommend this one as the way to go. And if you still find yourself struggling, add a little water – it helps soften it.

My other personal favourite was Grant’s Rare 18 Year Old Whisky. Smooth, rich, and woody, with a deep golden amber colour, this is definitely a drink to be enjoyed after dinner. Reminiscent of Christmas pudding, this whisky is matured for 18 years or longer in oak casks before being finished in port casks. Like the Cask Ale Reserve, the peatiness was still there, but wasn’t overpowering. A well deserved gold medal winner at the 2009 International Wine and Spirit Competition, this whisky received a unanimous thumbs up.

But, above all, it was the tales the storytellers shared over dinner, that most warmed my heart. Stories make a community of those who gather to listen. They provide a common language in which we can all share. Personally speaking, whisky is one of the few drinks that immediately conjures up images of cosying up by the fire after dinner, sharing tales and anecdotes. I’m sure other companies will jump on the storytelling bandwagon as a way to promote their product, but if the Grant’s True Tales event to be held at the Town Hall next month is anywhere near as good as the evening I enjoyed, I guarantee you’re in for an absolute treat.


Grant’s True Tales will take place at Manchester Town Hall on 8 October. Drinks reception begins at 7pm. Event close is 10:15pm. Ticket price is £5 (includes Grant’s cocktail on arrival and goody bag containing a bottle of Grant’s Family Reserve. Get your tickets here.

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