There’s a reason I smuggle a flask into each year’s company Christmas party. That reason is The Famous Grouse. And no…that does not mean that I am clandestinely sneaking the Grouse into the event in my coat pocket; it means I am usually discreetly (*) sipping Ardbeg while the ‘scotch n’ soda’ crowd merrily glugs their Grouse.
Honestly. I can’t drink this stuff.
In my heart of hearts I know it’s not that bad of a blended whisky. I mean, c’mon…all those bonny Scots cannae be wrong, can they? Just so we’re all on the same page…please take note that this is the best selling whisky in all of Scotland. Incredible. Now…it’s no secret that those of us with some of the blue and white in our blood are…uhhhhh…rather acutely financially aware…but I’d like to think that there is some inherent appreciation out there of the whisky for its own merits and not simply an adoration for the supermarket sales sticker.
I gotta say though…to me…in its simplest deconstruction, this is a bland, generic caramel flavour meeting a bit of malt and a faint touch of smoke. And y’wanna know why I think it really grates on me? Simply because I know that this has a backbone built on Macallan and Highland Park (with a hefty helping of Glenturret, among others). Really? Really?! You have Macallan and HP to work with and this is the best you can do, Edrington? That’s like Brad and Angelina having ugly babies. In principle, it seems so far-fetched as to be borderline impossible. Somehow though…exactly that has happened here. Macallan and Highland Park have had ugly babies.
Nose: Malt heavy (notes, that is, not actual malt whisky ratio). Loud grains. A bucketload of cloying caramel. A solid whiff of smoke and some floral notes. Orange peel. A little like cheap leather and old wood. I’m sure there’s a bit more in there, but that’s really all you need to know.
Palate: Lightweight (through low ABV), but still sits too heavily. Caramel and barley. Cheap cigar. Syrup and just an absolute f*ck tonne of sour off-notes. Shudder.
(*) How discreet can you be really, when a cloud of smoke and peat reek emanates from both your glass and pores?
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt