The Famous Grouse

The Famous Grouse was first blended by wine merchant Matthew Gloag (grandson of the company’s founder) in Scotland in 1897. Now, the brand is owned by the Edrington Group. It is a blend of grain whisky (purportedly over 65%) with unknown quantities of single malts including The Glenrothes, Highland Park, and The Macallan. Its malty character is impressive considering the high percentage of grain. The Famous Grouse is the best-selling brand of whisky in Scotland, but is not as well-known elsewhere. The company suggests serving on ice, with water, or with mixers. I prefer to compare all whiskies neat, however, so my notes are for the whisky straight:

Nose: Grain prominent, with marshmallow, mild malty sweetness, baked sweets.

Body: Medium, with a slight chewiness.

Palate: Upfront there is a clear grain component. Resolves into toffee, malt of indistinct origin, but smooth and soft.

Finish: Short, a mild vodka like grain lingering. Some pepper and a little brown sugar.

Good, but a little bland. No peat and no fruit, but also smooth and malty with a nice toothiness. A drink-it-and-forget-it malt, but certainly better than the bottom-shelf blends of lower cost. Does not compare favorably with the cheaper highland malts.

The Famous Grouse
40% ABV
ScotchNoob™ Mark:
Price Range: $18-$22
Acquired: (Bottle): Total Wine in Roseville, CA. $20 Total Wine.

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  • Actually, it’s very well known here in Greece and lots of folks like it. Personally, it’s my favorite cheap whisky over here!

  • I just tried it today for the first time. Being moslty a single malt dude, Im trying out blended scotches. This one really hit me as more of a highland scotch. Very malty for a blend. Not bad at all. Been trying Speyside based blends such as “Clan McCregor, Old Smuggler, Grants family reserve” etc. And to try this after those, it just seemed more highland with a malt taste. (even though most blends use grain whiskys and add caramel for coloring.)

  • Had some a few weeks ago, appears they changed the blend. It’s awful now, it’s just grain whiskey with some coloring. Wish the Chinese would quit buying the stuff, they’re thinning the quality. Avoid.

  • I do think the blend has changed. This has always been my favorite cheap Scotch. Been drinking it for years. Haven’t enjoyed it as much lately. Still a good buy..