The “Grouse Blend” was originally produced by Matthew Gloag, a grocer and wine merchant in Perth, Scotland. The blend was created in 1897, slightly after the big explosion of blends in Scottish whisky history. The blend became so popular that shortly it was renamed “The Famous Grouse”. Originally, it was likely supplied to sportsman who came to Glasgow to hunt. Now, it is the biggest selling blend in UK. It is produced by the same company that owns Macallan and Highland Park – who are big users of sherry casks, which does show up in this blend.
Nose: lots of malty fruit hits the nose pretty heavily. Caramel is present, along with some malty notes and slightly sour notes reminiscent of irish pot still whisky. It’s also quite creamy and buttery, which I mainly noticed it while tasting alongside some others. I get aromas of tea as well (black pekoe) , a touch of cucumber, honey, and some chemical smells reminiscent of some peat, although I don’t smell much peat here. There is also a bit of light heather in the mix and a touch of orange. The aroma is a bit tart and has a slight bit of bitterness which I don’t love. 22/30 (73%)
Taste: quite sweet, malty, and smooth with a surprising bit of prickly heat on my first sip. Malt seems to play center stage here, however – the backdrop is quite brilliant – some dried fruits (apricot and lots of raisin), and slight spice, slight toffee, and a touch of salt. The sweetness carries on throughout the taste. The raisins seem to build and build. Peat comes in at the end (not smoke, but peat) and adds some earthiness and moss. Quite light – there’s some slight heat but not really much in the way of spices attached to it other than a touch of black pepper at the end. Additionally, the buttery-ness from the nose is here. 22.5/30 (75%)
Finish: malty, light, and sweet with a touch of dry-ness and slight fruitiness as well. The malt remains but isn’t that present, and there’s just a touch of spice and vanilla. 14/20 (70%)
Conclusion: Pleasant, but not that engaging. I do like it, but it wouldn’t be more than a casual whisky for me (or perhaps mixing). My plan currently for the rest of the bottle is to infuse orange into it for some cocktails, which I’m confident will be fantastic. 14.5/20 (75%)