The Famous Grouse has been around since 1896, produced out of what is today one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries still in operation. Its reasonable price makes it perfect for everyday drinking and mixing.
Classification: blended scotch whisky
Distillery: Glenturret, Scotland
Cask: ex-sherry and ex-bourbon
Still Type: Copper
Aged: Not stated
Awards: Bronze, 2019 International Wine & Spirits Competition
- While The Famous Grouse is popular worldwide, it’s a little under the radar in the States, which makes it a nice gift for aspiring scotch drinkers who’ve already tried the more ubiquitous blends.
- At $25 a bottle, it’s quite affordable for both sipping and mixing; it’s an ideal bottle to bring to parties.
- When sipped neat, this whisky has a somewhat unpleasant aftertaste that places it in the for-mixing-only camp.
Color: Pale yellow gold, almost like a pilsner
Nose: Lots of oak, some barley, and pungent, slightly fruity notes reminiscent of an oaky chardonnay
Palate: Quite sweet up front, with notes of vanilla custard and créme brûlée. As it hits midpalate, it gets drier and a little woodier, with undertones of caramel, toffee, and malt. The mouthfeel is quite full and buttery throughout.
Finish: Medium length; a little medicinal, a little oaky, a little sour, leaving a slightly unpleasant aftertaste
This bottle’s reasonable price renders it perfect for everyday drinking and mixing. And it’s a nice change of pace from its more-common competing blends, such as Johnnie Walker and Dewar’s.
Ultimately, what it’s not is a bigger selling point than what it is. This is a perfectly fine blend, apart from a slightly unpleasant aftertaste, which disappears when it’s mixed into cocktails. And speaking of cocktails, it makes a fine Whisky Sour or Penicillin. But it doesn’t really stand out from the crowd in any meaningful way. There’s no compelling reason to not buy it if you’re in the market for a dependable, inexpensive blended scotch. But there’s no real reason to search it out, either.
According to the brand’s website, the Famous Grouse is the best-selling scotch whisky in its home country of Scotland. It’s also available in 93 other countries around the world.
The bottom line: The Famous Grouse is a solid if unspectacular blended scotch that’s better for mixing than sipping. There’s no need to turn down a bottle, but apart from its affordability, there’s no compelling reason to own one, either.