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After the sale of Black Bottle (and Bunnahabhain distillery) to Burn Stewart in 2003, Edrington Group was looking for a replacement. After the success of the Famous Grouse, it was just a small step to the Black Grouse, a blend of 'regular' Famous Grouse and some peated malt.
The nose is less peaty than anticipated. The rich fruity character, with quite a bit of candied sugar, is sprinkled with beach bonfire. Nice balance, though.
This was has a lot more body than the regular Grouse. It offers a nice round and full mouthfeel with spices, dark chocolate and toffee taking center stage. Some citrus. The peat plays second fiddle. It's meant to play a supporting role and does so magnificently.
The finish is medium in length, starts off creamy and dies on citrus and smoke.
A very elegant blend that, while not earthshattering to peatfreakds, will enthrall the Black Bottle enthusiasts. A very pleasant surprise.