The Famous Grouse

The Famous GrouseI’ve reviewed the Black Grouse but not the member of the family that makes all the money: the original Famous Grouse. Until now.

The Famous Grouse is reportedly the most popular whisky in Scotland, at least in terms of sales. You must remember, of course, that Budweiser is similarly the most popular beer in the US, and McDonald’s the makers of the most popular hamburger. That said, I will admit there are occasions when I enjoy a cold Bud—mostly at sporting events where the other options are Corona or Miller—and I have also occasionally enjoyed the Famous Grouse, with ice and water. Hot on the heels of my very positive review of the very popular Johnnie Walker Black Label, therefore, in a continuing attempt to become the Blogger of the People, here is a review of the Famous Grouse. Will it reward close attention the way the Black Label did or will its flaws be all the more apparent?

The Famous Grouse (40%; from my own bottle)

Nose: Mild sherried notes (some orange, some raisins) integrated with a touch of peat and some roasted malt. Straightforward but quite nice. Just the faintest hint of rubber. With a big slug of water the nose is still pretty expressive with the malt a little more sweaty now and the citrus edging towards lime.

Palate: Sweet arrival with a better texture than the 40% abv would seem to promise but then it first goes blank and then turns bitter pretty fast. Okay, a couple more sips and then it’s time for a large splash of water. Water removes the bitterness but doesn’t add anything interesting.

Finish: Longer than I would like with the bitterness turning more and more metallic as it goes. Unobjectionable with water, but also characterless.

Comments: Neat, the nose was quite promising—seemed headed for a score in the low 80s—but it all went downhill so fast on the palate and finish. And water merely made it a bit more palatable. And I still have most of this liter bottle—given to me as a gift by a guest who passed through duty free—left on the bar.

Rating: 72 points.

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