Drink Review: The Famous Grouse

So full disclosure, I will endeavour to be fair and honest in these reviews, as I try to be with all of my content, but I might be just a little biased as Famous Grouse is my drink of choice. Now don’t get me wrong, Grouse is great, there’s a reason I’ve been drinking it since I turned 18 but a part of me can’t shake the feeling that the main reason why I gravitated towards it when I started drinking was that I remember watching the adverts as a kid in the early 2000s and kind of imprinted on their mascot, Gilbert the Grouse. 

Anyway, a little about The Famous Grouse before we move on to my thoughts. Grouse was for the longest time, a family affair. It started back in the early to mid 19th century with Matthew Gloag, a grocer and wine merchant from Perth, Scotland who specialised in wines from France, Spain and Portugal. He was clearly well known, because in 1842 when Queen Victoria visited Perth, he was invited to supply wine for the event. 

Matthew was eventually succeeded by his son William Gloag, in 1860 who continued business as usual until the Great French Wine Blight decimated the majority of the vineyards in France (as well as affecting numerous other European countries). This of course impacted their business, especially since as I said above, they were known for being wine merchants. So somewhere around 1975 they began to make their own blended whiskies to supplement the sales. In 1896, William’s Nephew, Mathew (named for his grandfather) took over the business, and continued to expand their whisky making, and created their blended whisky brand ‘The Grouse’. Things continued to grow and expand, by 1905 a limited company had been established, called Matthew Gloag and son, and ‘The Grouse’ was renamed ‘The famous Grouse’ that same year. At some point after that Mathew’s daughter Phillippa designed the first label featuring the iconic grouse design. The Famous Grouse remained a family business until 1970 when the Gloag family sold the company to Highland Distillers, who have retained ownership, even as the company itself was bought out and merged with other properties into the much larger Edrington Group who currently own and produce Grouse. 

Okay, so today I will be reviewing the Original Grouse, and the Smoky Black peated Whisky, and as a super special bonus I’m also going to be reviewing The Famous Grouse chocolate. 

The Famous Grouse (Original Blended Scotch Whisky)

So first off, the aroma, it has a sharp and invigorating scent, with something heavy and earthy at the back of it. I could honestly just soak in that smell for days. Now to taste, and to re-use a word, there is a distinct sharpness to the flavour, it settles on the palate leaving a warm, hearty note. It is my favourite tipple for a reason, because it’s rich and goes down smooth. 

The Famous Grouse (Smoky Black)

Starting with the aroma, this has a flatter, less pronounced note, with just a little tickle of spiciness at the back of the nose. In terms of taste, it has a much deeper flavour profile than the original, it is slow to develop and then it kind of dominates the palate. I didn’t get multiple hits as it spread across my tongue, instead you just get one overall, pronounced and robust taste, that fades out to a smokiness which the drink derives it’s name from. And again, you get that lovely heat that reminds me why I love whisky. 

The Famous Grouse (Truffle Bar)

So they say that everything goes good with chocolate and this is no different. I like that with each bite you get a distinct burst of both the chocolate and the Grouse. You have the creamy smoothness of the milk chocolate, which balances out the richer and sharper flavours of the grouse, making it mellow and sweet, like a good caramel. I think both elements are amazing on their own, and both are amazing separately, but I cannot say that they truly elevated one another. That’s not to say I’m not getting this again but rather that I think I like my whisky and chocolate separate. Overall though this was truly superb, by more for the sum of its parts than the combination as a whole.

First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org/

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