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 which would eventually become known as ‘The Grouse’.
The brand was an instant success and by 1905 it had been renamed the Famous Grouse. A name which certainly seems justified today, given the blends 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, Highland Park and Glenturret Distilleries, the latter of which has a claim to being one, if not the oldest distillery in the country and now houses the Famous Grouse Experience.
The brand has expanded over the years with a few different expressions… The Smokey 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’ll be reviewing the original and best known expression however…
The Scores: About the Scoring…
Smell: 13.5 / 20. Vanilla, Apple and Coconut with a touch of Biscuit and some youthful spirit.
Taste: 13.5 / 20. Vanilla, Honey, Cream & Malt and a touch of Apple. Pleasant texture on the palate.
Value for Money: 7 / 10. The affordability of Grouse is one reason why it is so popular in Scotland. To be fair, it is a decent quality product considering the price you pay.
Overall: 34 / 50. The Famous Grouse (and blends like it) aims to offer an affordable, easy drinking scotch that works just as well with a mixer as without. It is totally unpretentious but tasty enough and crucially, reliable. An every day scotch whisky.
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