Vintage Cellars

Dennis Malcolm On A Lifetime at The Glen Grant And Preserving a Legacy

Mature and complex, just like the whisky he has been crafting for over 60 years.


Dennis Malcolm is a Scotch whisky icon. As the third generation of his family to work at the world-famous Glen Grant distillery – and only the eighth Master Distiller in the distillery’s storied history – Malcolm’s 60-year career makes him a rare expert on the topic


From beginning work as an apprentice at The Glen Grant in 1961 to managing some of the world’s largest and most-lauded distilleries,  and even rubbing shoulders with royalty (In 2016 he was awarded the honour of an OBE for his services to business and the Speyside community) Malcolm’s life has always been intertwined with the fruity, peaty and woody aromas of whisky, a connection rooted in his birthplace on the grounds of The Glen Grant Distillery.


Malcolm’s hand is present in many of the distillery’s most loved products, From crafting The Glen Grant’s 15-year-old single malt Scotch whisky at 50% ABV batch strength, and defining the distillery’s signature style, to finessing the stunning 21-year-old single malt Scotch whisky – an innovative new release unveiled in 2023.


Here, we sit down with Malcolm over a dram to discuss the secrets of The Glen Grant, and why after 60-years he’s still not bored.

For those who don't know, what is a Master Distiller?

The role of Master Distiller is very much focused on innovation and education about The Glen Grant around the world. The process of crafting these fine whiskies has remained the same throughout my whole career – which I see as a testament to the unwavering commitment to quality at The Glen Grant.


Another key aspect of what I do is spread the word. Whether it’s at the distillery or around the world, I love the opportunity to explain to people why the Glen Grant is different. Educating everyone from new whisky drinkers to connoisseurs is one of my most important jobs.  It’s the opportunity to showcase all the jewels in our crown and convince people that this is a whisky worth pursuing. 

What's your go-to whisky at the moment?

I’m a Single Malt guy through and through. And I pick my whisky based on my mood, so it’s always different.  If it’s not The Glen Grant, then it’s a cold beer

Rumour has it you were born on Distillery grounds - what is your most treasured Distillery memory?

I was born on the distillery grounds and I am the third generation of my family to work at The Glen Grant, as my father and grandfather did before me. I began working for The Glen Grant as an apprentice cooper, in 1961.  A memory I hold close to my heart is when we launched The Glen Grant 60-year-old in honour of my six decades in the industry. That was a proud moment for me, hitting that milestone.  

And one that always makes you laugh...

I am happiest when presenting the Glen Grant expressions to visitors and Single Malt enthusiasts alike and the moment that they discover the aroma and taste profile for the first time always brings a smile to my face. They now have a huge journey of discovery ahead of them and I love to think about what comes next.

Tell us, what makes Speyside whisky so unique?

Scotland’s Speyside region contains rivers brim with cool, fresh water fed by hundreds of natural springs, and the fields boast the ideal conditions for growing barley.  That is why Speyside is the undisputed champion of producing premium single malt Scotch whisky.  And what makes The Glen Grant unique in the region is that we are the only distillery in Speyside that bottles every drop of whisky on-site.

And describe the perfect setting for enjoying Speyside?

For me, there is no wrong way to enjoy whisky, but one of my favourites is to share it with great friends in a great atmosphere, in the setting of our Garden of Splendours in May. As you walk through the garden you get the beautiful fruit aroma that fills the air, and it elevates the fruity character of The Glen Grant perfectly.