Ummm. Yeah. Not sure what just happened here, but I’m dumbfounded. This is not a bad Grouse. It’s not an ok Grouse, nor even a decent Grouse. This is really, really tasty stuff.
Being honest here. I generally like this brand less than a good hard kick in the junk. OK…it’s maybe not that bad, but it’s still certainly far from a hot commodity in my place. Like most blended whiskies, Grouse is one I have tried oodles of times (yes…that is a proper measure, about as accurate as my interpretation of ‘dram’), in various incarnations, and almost always found to be somewhat repellant (the exception so far being the 12 year old blended malt).
I like being able to put down my sword and shield for a moment and embrace this one, instead of the continued sparring with the FG brand. Goes to show you that blanket statements (i.e. ‘Grouse sux’) are the tool of idjits (and yes…I use ’em) and simpletons.
Joking aside, this is a good dram. If what I’ve read is correct, there is a higher proportion of both Macallan (carrying its sweet high quality sherry influence) and Highland Park (bringing some heft and a slightly malty, smoky edge) here than in the standard offering. The Naked Grouse is being positioned as a slightly more ‘premium’ blend. I’m behind it wholeheartedly. Certainly not your average young blend. In fact…I think I’ma put a couple of these aside for rainier days.
Nose: Malty caramel. Raisin scones. Buttery, with some nice dried fruits (figs and apricots). Plum and milk chocolate. Spiced nuts. Vanilla. Just a faint fanning of smoke. Finally in a Grouse I’m getting those notes of Macallan that should have been front and center in all other editions.
Palate: Sherried tartness meets sherried sweetness. Neato. Almost like a neutered (40%? c’mon) sherry bomb. Grape juice. Spices are well-balanced. As unbelievable as this may seem…there are hints of watermelon. And a little cantaloupe. Beautiful accents. Grape, oak, chocolate and apple. One of the better blended whiskies I’ve ever tasted. Lovely stuff.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt