Famous Grouse, Head 2 Head

Some say blends prepare us for single malts, but in some ways malts & grains are de-constructed blends. Discuss.

Glenturret distillery.jpg

  • Given Edrington recently sold heart-of-Famous Grouse-Glenturret but not the Famous Grouse brand, where will they [Edrington], source the heart from?
  • MM says of Glenturret “The distillery I’d like to call ‘Glenturret Mark III’ went into operation in 1959. That’s a little ironic, because that makes Glenturret one of Scotland’s youngest distilleries – not one of the oldest”.
  • I guess we should expect to be sold another story for Glenturret Mark IV, soon enough.


Sometimes you find yourself in a situation where choices are limited. I’ve been on the road quite a bit this year where choice-limiting situations have found me grabbing a bottle or two of Famous Grouse. Back to life, back to reality!

Famous Grouse [2019] Ob. [barcode: 5010314 305901] 40% WF78 WM79[1]

Lady Locks made me buy this first one, true story! I’d have bought a half bottle but the shop keeper convinced me a full bottle was a much better deal, pound for, erm cl. Every cloud,…

Famous Grouse 1.jpg

  • N: A surprisingly ripe and involving, malty, husky youthful-oily [yeasty], sweet [lime]-citrus profile with a nice meaty oiliness. There’s certainly green vanilla lurking but it’s a sweeter & more full bodied greenish-ness against the later FG.
  • T: A pleasingly & acceptably youthful Scotch, creamy, malty, a tad salty, relatively weighty, a touch oily/waxy and [despite the more predominant bourbon activity], a touch sherried. Is that the small percentage of Macallan talking? The fairly sour > bitter green grain notes at the final stages provide the reality check however.
  • F: The creamy cereal briny oiliness spills over from the palate with metal-y/coppery > vanilla-y, milky/creamy-ish > grape/green olive-tannic additions. I’d be mentioning the green freshness far more if it weren’t significantly more prominent in the following bottling.
  • C: Though surprisingly less of a crowd pleaser than I’d expected, as a mostly single malt enthusiast, I can’t believe how alright this is. Totally acceptable juice for easy, inoffensive sipping – mixing goes without saying – and one that would work in a Highball with ease. Surprisingly competent and relatively enjoyable whisky at a significantly low price point when needs must.

Scores 78 points


Famous Grouse [2019] Ob. [barcode: 5010314 302108] 40%

Twice in a month but Lady Locks wasn’t responsible for this one. It was currently on offer for £16.99, though I had to remind the cashier of this fact three times whilst refusing to pay for goods a chancer ended up shoplifting. Friday night in Oval! Flustered in the moment, I accidentally ended up swiping my friend’s card that I’d previously found and picked up for safe keeping. Karma dear boy!

Famous Grouse 2.jpg

  • N: Not a great deal of offerings for the nose, but what there is smells fairly pleasant/acceptable, though the grainy coppery sour note is not the warmest. In fact, the grain percentage is far higher here than in the first bottling, this one appearing to contain predominantly young grain.
  • T: We’ve heaps of new-make-y grain with only just enough malt interest. This is on the edge of the grain/malt & spirit/whisky balance – a share holders balance perhaps? So much so, this FG batch feels like an exercise in ‘how much grain can we get away with’. Whatever the ratio, the malt content in the previous bottle is clearly significantly higher. I return to that first bottle and sure enough, whilst the grain element has significantly been toned down, there appears to be far more [sherried] maturation as well as more advanced mala-lactose action. In comparison, this bottle is more metallic, less sweet and a touch prickly – certainly for the first few days. A few days of opening up helps it a little, weeks even more. A week after that, the distracting metallic note has been replaced with waxy >oily savoury/sour-creamy green vanilla and light confectionary honey but the sour > bitter spirit still remains. This is grain dominant and there’s no escaping it.
  • F: Predictably light and stark. Nothing particularly stands out besides a metallic sour note, more forgivingly creamy weeks later.
  • C: Accepting that yield, consistency and ultimately profit is at the heart of the whisky industry, FG is a fair offering even though the joy factor is lower in comparison to the previous bottle.

Scores 76 points





Famous Grouse flight.jpg



3 thoughts on “Famous Grouse, Head 2 Head

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