Whisky Review – Famous Grouse – The Black Grouse

Famous Grouse – The Black Grouse

40% ABV

~£20.00 from supermarkets and general availability 

  

Having a bit of a Grouse session. Finally, we have the Black Grouse. This is a smokier blend of whiskies and has a good reputation for quality and enjoy ability factor considered the relatively lower price point. 

Nose. 

Mmmmm. Quite a bit of dirty earth and smoke to this blend. Bonfire smoke. Wet twigs smouldering. Sweet peat smoke. Slightly medicinal. Lots of burnt brown sugar and honey. Some herbal liquorice comes through with time in the glass. Quite a bit if maritime as well. Wet ropes and a touch of tar. Aniseed sweets. Pontefract cakes (remember them?). Quite a smokey intense Islay experience. In the background we do have some sweet runny honey and whiffs of vanilla. 

Palate. 

Bloody hell I’d love to try this a litter higher ABV with No chill filtration. But anyway. There is some more obvious grain in the palate, vanilla and coconut cram is the most forefront flavours. The earthy peat bog/smoke starts coming in in the development. Damp moss, some damp soil. Sweet peat. Herbal heather honey, touches of aniseed come back in little burps. Towards the end of the development there is a little spirit coming through showing its youth.

Finish.

Slightly bitter and drying tea leaves, with some burnt sugars and wood char hanging around for a medium length finish. The finish is the only real weakness in this dram. 

Adding water. 

I don’t think this will benefit from water, but I have been proven wrong in the past so a few drops inserted here. The smokey nose is more medicinal now. I don’t think the dilution has done much in the way of a favour for the smoke, it’s extinguished. There is more herbal now and it’s still quite interesting. The palate is lighter, sweeter, greener. Much more herbal, a little drier, some bitter herbal tea. Cough candy twist sweets come to mind, but weaker than the real sweets. The finish reflects the herbal nature. It’s an interesting dram to water, but for me it removes a little bit too much. 

Conclusion. 

A very close second place favourite in the Grouse camp for me of the whiskies I have tried so far. There is some prominent youth and a slightly bitter finish that lets this blend down slightly. But for the money this is a good little peaty moment that is getting more and more expensive to experience nowadays. 

Note – I have just read this expression is being relabelled as Smokey Black. I don’t know if the blend has changed at all but if I get a chance to do a sidebyside test I will and report!

This one is from my own collection. 

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