The Black Grouse is a woodier spin on The Famous Grouse the best-selling blended Scotch in Scotland, by the by though a bit of a lesser-known mainstay here in the States. The Famous Grouse has a nice pedigree as it is: Its made primarily of Highland Park and Macallan whiskys. And with The Black Grouse, things take a deeper, darker turn.
Its clear from simply looking through the bottle that this Grouse is, as the name implies, a darker spirit in color. And youre just getting started. The nose indicates quite clearly that youre getting into peat territory none of the constituent whiskys in Famous Grouse are heavily peated, if theyre peated at all its smokiness lingering in the nostrils as it plays on the tongue as well.
But Black Grouse offers more than just a simple smoke bomb. Once you push past the peat moderate, in the end its extremely sweet, sugary with a finish that reminds one of the vanilla-laced kick of a moderately old Bourbon. Theres no escaping that smoke and woodiness in the end, but Black Grouse is really quite balanced in a way that so many ultra-peated single malts miss out on. I would still probably rather drink a nice Highland Park or Macallan on any given weeknight, but when something heartier and meatier yet cheap is called for, this will do the trick.