The Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky

Difford's Guide
Discerning Drinkers (1 rating)

alc./vol: 40%

Proof: 80°

Vintage: Non-vintage

Aged: No age statement

Product of: Product of United Kingdom United Kingdom

The Famous Grouse is the No.1 whisky in Scotland and No.6 blended whisky worldwide. Its origins lie in the early 1800s when Matthew Gloag established a grocery and wine shop at 24 Atholl Street, Perth.

Matthew Gloag gained a reputation for selling wines and spirits – even supplying the wines for a banquet for Queen Victoria. On Matthew’s death, his son William took over the business, helped and encouraged by his enthusiastic nephew (also Matthew). It was his idea to enter the market for house branded whisky.

Matthew developed his blend of Scotch to appeal to the growing numbers of sporting gentleman who were being lured to the North East Highlands to participate in hunting, shooting and fishing. During 1896, he chose the fitting name of ‘Grouse Brand’ and his daughter, Phillippa, sketched the Red Grouse label that became its trademark. The new whisky brand became so popular that on August 12th 1905 it was renamed The Famous Grouse.

The Famous Grouse is blended in Glasgow and is based on malts such as The Macallan and Highland Park which are married with grain whiskies in oak casks for six months prior to bottling. Grouse is married at the relatively low strength of 46% alc./vol. The folk at The Edrington Group, makers of Grouse, loosely claim that the few blends that are married, tend to be married at cask strength (approximately 63%alc./vol.), meaning that when they are finally reduced in strength for bottling, the addition of so much water risks making the whisky go cloudy. These producers have to chill filter their whisky to ensure they do not haze, which tends to strip flavour and fatty acids (which help give a smooth mouthfeel) from the whisky. They claim that because Grouse is married at a lower strength, it doesn’t go cloudy in the same way, so does not require such heavy filtration prior to bottling.

In June 2010, The Famous Grouse benefitted from a packaging update, giving the brand’s red grouse icon more prominence. The new enlarged grouse was illustrated by wildlife artist, Rodger McPhail.

Review and Tasting

Sampled on 23/12/2012


Clear, mid golden.


Grainy malt, creamy toffee apple and fudge with of milk chocolate, fruit cake, sherry and orange marmalade.


Toffee, fudge and caramel influenced, surprisingly soft leathery palate with a creamy mouth feel.


Long fruity finish with a delicate hint of peat and a clean citrus edge.

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Product Information

Barcode UPC: 5010314054304
Bottle Size: 700 ml
Closure: Screw / Stelvin cap

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