Time for a blended whisky again – The Black Grouse. The Famous Grouse is a brand of blended Scotch whisky, first produced by Matthew Gloag & Son in 1896. The brand is now produced and owned by The Edrington Group. Its emblem is the Red Grouse, Scotland’s national game bird. Matthew Gloag was a grocer and wine merchant in Perth, Scotland. He purchased whiskies from distilleries around Scotland and sold them at his shop. In 1860, his son, William Gloag, took over the company and began producing blended whiskies. But the Grouse brand only started taking shape when William’s nephew, also named Matthew, took over the company. He created The Grouse Brand blend in 1896.
This brand was so popular that they renamed it “The Famous Grouse” in 1905. Matthew Gloag’s daughter Phillippa first designed the label’s grouse icon. In 1970, Matthew Gloag & Son, was sold to Highland Distillers, after the death of the chairman, Matthew Frederick Gloag. The marketing and distributive power of the new company saw Famous Grouse become the highest selling Scotch in Scotland by 1980 and the second highest selling in the United Kingdom.
In 2007 they released a peated version of The Famous Grouse called The Black Grouse. The packaging displays a black grouse in place of the usual red grouse. We got our bottle here in South Africa at a little bottle store about 4 years ago. Jim Murray awarded it 94 points in the Whisky Bible.
Also Read: Scottish Cousins blended whisky
Tasting notes for The Black Grouse
The Black Grouse combines the Famous Grouse blend with specially selected Islay whiskies to create this peaty expression.
COLOUR: A dark gold. This is not a very oily whisky.
NOSE: Peat and smoke come through at once when nosing. There is some medicinal notes, sweetness and wood as well. The Black Grouse nose has a freshness that is different. Perhaps a bit of a fresh pear.
PALATE: This Black Grouse is quite light on the palate. Peat and smoke are followed by spice. Especially ginger and pepper notes come through. There is a woodiness in the palate with notes of oak and rich chocolate sweetness. The peat and smoke notes still continues into the finish.
FINISH: Medium length and ends with spicy notes. This is quite a complex whisky for the price point. This whisky proves again that you don’t have to pay exorbitant prices for good whisky. It has a finish that make you want another glass. The peat is also not too overwhelming. Even a non-peat-head like me really enjoyed this peaty expression.
We gave the Black Grouse a RATING: EXCELLENT.
This is an affordable whisky you can proudly offer to whisky aficionados. And definitely have one in your whisky collection. This is also an amazing whisky to pair with Indian food. We used the Black Grouse in a marinade for a Leg of Lamb we roasted.
Love this whisky? You can order a personalised bottle of Black Grouse in a special crate from Netflorist. What a perfect gift!
Also Read: The Naked Grouse