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The Famous Grouse
The roots of the Famous Grouse blend can be traced to Matthew Gloag: a grocer and wine merchant from Perth who gained a reputation for sourcing and bottling fine whisky from all over Scotland. When Matthew passed away in 1860, his son William took over the family business and decided to use the stocks he had at hand to produce a blended Scotch that would become known as ‘The Grouse’.
The brand was an instant success and by 1905 it had been renamed The Famous Grouse. A name that certainly seems justified today, given the blend’s current status as the best selling whisky in Scotland. A title it has held since 1980.
Today the Grouse brand is part of the Edrington Group, owners of The Macallan and Highland Park distilleries. The owners have expanded over the years with a few different expressions… The Smoky Black is a peated blend formerly known as the Black Grouse, the Naked Grouse is finished in Sherry Casks and the Snow Grouse was a grain whisky designed to be consumed straight from the freezer. The brand further diversified by releasing the Famous Ginger Grouse – an alcoholic Ginger Beer. I will be reviewing the original and best-known expression, however.
Smell: Vanilla, Apple and Coconut with a touch of Biscuit and some youthful spirit.
Taste: Vanilla, Honey, Cream & Malt and a touch of Apple.
Thoughts: The Famous Grouse is a blend that offers consistency and affordability again and again. That’s why it’s so popular in its homeland. This isn’t a dram for nerds and connoisseurs, it’s a wee half for the old boys that perch against bars, up and down the country. It’s an old-fashioned, everyday Scotch whisky and whilst it wasn’t the best dram I’ve ever put in my mouth, I’m not above enjoying the simple things from time to time. Grouse does exactly what it is designed to do and who am I to talk it down.
*If the whisky reviewed in this article has caught your eye, you can buy it from Master of Malt here. Please be aware that as an affiliate I can be paid a small commission on any purchases you make after following links from my page. The whisky is also available from several other excellent retailers.