The Famous Grouse Smoky Black

Famous Grouse Smoky Black 2.jpg

So here’s the thing. The rub, if you will. This past December I did a type of Advent Calendar. My wife went through my samples, chose 24 of them, and then handed them to me blind.

But the thing is I take a long time to write these, get them up, have the images put together. So it’s no longer December so you may think I’m nuts. But did it I did, and here’s the start of my wife’s Advent Calendar.

Starting with Advent Day #1. I knew nothing about what the whisky was.

So let’s see how I did on figuring this out, shall we?

Famous Grouse Smoky Black 1.jpg

Price: $34.95 CAD at the LCBO

Region: Blend

Abv: 40%

Colour: 2.5Y 7/8

Nose: Cherry, honey, tangerine, pear, cumin

Initial fruit, tart, and some honey. Goes back and forth on sweetness, eventually with some earth/heat going on.

Initial thought is this is some sort of bourbon? Probably not, as it’s fruitier than most bourbons, but maybe? I’m bad at mysteries.

Taste: Peppercorns, cherry, spruce, cinnamon, corn

Pepper forward. Very spicy. Less of the cherry, now with some corn, heat, and even some pine.

I’m guessing this is young? The spruce screams that. However maybe a blend. For some reason, I keep thinking it’s a bourbon. Like someone made a blend of bourbons.

Finish: Corn, oak, cherry, pear, cinnamon

More corn and oak. Really thinking it’s a bourbon, but a lighter one. Note I’m wrong at this point.

The cinnamon seems to work with the pear, but overall it’s all over the place. The switch from fruit forward to spice is tough to reconcile.

Conclusion: Not bad, bit all over the place, but nice to sip on. It does have those grain notes, but they’re not super rough. Closer to a light corn/cereal note throughout.

Where it’s tough to follow is the fruit and spice mix going to spice and then eventually to cereal times. Again, that’s not a bad thing, it’s tougher to follow.


Guess: Bourbon, 40-46%, maybe something blended and sourced, Barrel?

Actually: Famous Grouse Smoky Black

So I was off. I was correct about it being a blend. This is a blend of Islay whiskies meant to be smooth and aromatic. Personally, I think there was more grain whisky going on that took the strength out of the peat here. It’s slightly peaty, so if you like the spicy side but don’t like all that other peat stuff affecting your whisky, this might be for you.

For me, it’ll be a slight change from Johnny Walker Black.

Scotch review #1057, Blend review #90, Whisky Network review #1648

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