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Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky

Take Two With a Commonplace Blended Scotch

1 769

@VictorReview by @Victor

13th Jun 2017

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
    69

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

A recent gift of some open bottles from a professional caterer has given me just my second taste of standard Famous Grouse Blended Scotch. Now, I am willing to take every whisky at its own merits, and have no inherent prejudice against either blended Scotch or relatively inexpensive products. That said, I am long on record as having found blended Scotch as a category a posteriori less enjoyable than I have found barley-malt whiskies. I am looking forward to seeing what I find here. I have previously reviewed both Famous Grouse 12 yo Gold Blended Scotch, and The Black Grouse, from the same family of blended Scotch whiskies. Edrington notes on the bottle that malts from The Macallan and Highland Park are included as parts of the blend. The reviewed bottle is understood to have been recently opened, probably last week, and is 60% full

Nose: the main effect here is rather muffled, and, after a lot of observation I think that what I am smelling here is flavour dominance by the dilute wheat whisky used in Scottish blends. This is non-descript and leans toward varnish, but it is not strongly offensive. It doesn't offer much to like either. There may be wine here, but if so it also is non-descript to the point of obscurity. I can't really smell malt, and whatever wood flavours I am getting are probably that not-so-wonderful varnish effect. Water added improves the wood flavours and the overall flavours Score: 16/25; 18/25 with water added

Taste: well, there is something to taste in the mouth, including wine, malt, some wood influence (a little better than the nose, but not much), and citrus. This is better than is the nose, but that isn't saying much. Adding water doesn't help much. Score: 18/25

Finish: wine stays long with the citrus and both go very sour. Water added just gives a more dilute "very sour". 16/25

Balance: not good in any phase. Score: 17/25

Total Sequential Score: 69 points

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Strength: good strength of flavours. Score: 21.5/25 points

Quality: none of these component flavours is very good. Fair to poor, really, is what we have here. Score: 15/25

Variety: poor variety on the nose; good variety in the mouth. Score: 17/25

Harmony: this bottle really just does not work, at all. Score: 16/25

Total Non-Sequential Score: 69.5 points

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Comment: I get no pleasure in bashing blended Scotch, inexpensive whisky, or bottles which I own. I would really like to love everything I have in my house to drink. This bottle of standard The Famous Grouse just does not get there for me for quality and enjoyment

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7 comments

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

Thanks for the honest and fair review. I share your view that inexpensive doesn't equate to "cheap-tasting". My recent experience with Teacher's Highland Cream confirms that budget blends can be quite good. I'm also glad you saved me the trouble of buying this one to review.

about one year ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

I've had it a couple of times - not crazy about it either, but I'd give it a slightly higher score.

about one year ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

The one time I tasted standard The Famous Grouse before, probably 7 years ago, I liked it a little better than I did this bottle. That earlier one I would have rated maybe 75-78 points. With a mass market large volume whisky like this one, I always expect that some of the batches will be much better than other batches. So I am not surprised, @talexander, that you may have enjoyed some Grouse more than I did this one. I fully expect that if I try standard Famous Grouse a few more times that I will find one or two I will like. Hell, I've tasted Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 that I liked maybe 3 times out of 10. That said, I don't like the odds of liking a new bottle of Famous Grouse if I were to consider buying a bottle of it.

Both The Black Grouse and The Famous Grouse Gold 12 yo were worth 85 points to me when I reviewed them several years ago. Among these three I consider The Black Grouse to be the best bet for a purchase.

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas commented

I've had this only once, at a sunny sidewalk café in Glasgow, because it was a freebie included in my lodging. This was long enough ago now (2010) that its details in my memory have devolved into just "screaming and thin." I didn't like it at all.

This was just as I was getting seriously into malt whisky, and the Grouse effectively turned me away from (most) blends from that point on.

about one year ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

3 1/2 months later I am trying some The Famous Grouse to see whether the additional air time has benefited this reviewed bottle of it.

In sequential tasting, the nose is better now. 19/25 w/o water; 21/25 with water. I can smell more pleasant wine now and less unpleasant varnish. The taste, finish, and balance rate about the same for me now, with and without water added. Totals now: 72 w/o water added; 74 with water added. Non-sequential scores now: Strength 21.5/25; Quality 17/25; Variety 17/25; Harmony 17/25 = 72.5 total. Average overall current score = 73 points. This would be so much better if they could greatly reduce that sour component in the mouth.

about one year ago 0

@RianC
RianC commented

At my Golf Club hole in one achievers (not me, yet!) are encouraged to place a bottle of spirits on the bar - this (FG) is often made freely available and I'm not one to turn down any free whisky . . . 'Well done, Sir/Madam!' ;)

That said, it's average at best and not one of the 'budget blends' I'd buy. Too saccharin sweet and bitter on the finish, with a lot of grain present.

Grant's would be my cheap blend of choice, fwiw.

about one year ago 0

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