I may like malt whisky, but I can’t always afford it, particularly some of the ‘gourmet’ bottlings that distilleries are keen on tempting us all with.
Consequently, I’ve dabbled with a few blends and now have a couple of favourites. If you can get it, I can heartily recommend Bailie Nicol Jarvie.
More readily available is Black Grouse, a variant of Famous Grouse, which combines Islay Malts with the usual blend.
The bottle promises that characteristic Islay smokiness and, while present on the nose and hefty for a blend, it’s subdued. Certainly not one for the salivating smoke and peat heads out there.
The sweetness on the nose comes through clearly in the mouth. Again, the peat and smoke is restrained and well balanced with brown sugar, along with a bit of spice.
The finish is lighter and subtler, too, and relatively short lived.
Overall, though, this is an excellent dram, is great value for money and, for me, takes the Grouse blend to a new level. It’s also a good ‘way in’ to the smokier malts.
One to have in the cupboard at all times? Well, it’d be rude not to.