Official Halloween Blended Whisky: The Black Grouse
The black grouse is the newest addition to The Famous Grouse whiskey family. It is touted as having the richest, smoothest flavor of any blended Scotch. Jim Murray's Whisky Bible (whisky bible?) describes it as "so gentle, with waves of smoke and oak lapping on an oaky shore... brilliant." Something tells me Jim takes more than a shot or two from the bottle before composing his reviews.
Mr. Murray is a renowned whisky expert, so I decided to mimic his style and indulge in a few belts of Black Grouse before coming up with my own description: relaxed, like smoke and oak sharing a cigarette on a cloudy beach and engaging in a slightly heated argument over who pays for lunch.
Speaking of which, suggested retail price of a 750ml bottle is $28.99.
A more serious description:
A warm peaty-smoke flavor, with subtly sweet notes and what the company profile describes as "hints of cocoa and spice". There are traces of malt too, with the oak presence pronounced at the finish.
We're thrilled to be launching The Black Grouse here in the U.S. in time for Scotch season during The Famous Grouse's thirtieth year as Scotland's Favorite Whisky," says U.S. Brand Manager Marc Bromfeld of Rémy Cointreau USA. (Scotch season?) The Famous Grouse is indeed the numero uno seller in Scotland, and the number six blended whisky worldwide. "The blended whisky market is ready for a unique new product like this one," adds Bromfeld. "Its' smooth and smoky character adds an entirely different element to the mix."
So how does Halloween fit into all this? The Grouse group suggests filling your rocks glass with Black Grouse and adding a squeeze of fresh orange juice to it - the citrus acting to cut and contrast the smokiness. Then you'll have BLACK (Grouse) with ORANGE, the colors of Halloween! Along with a bottle of The Black Grouse, I was sent oranges from a gourmet fruit shop in NYC (don't know if they were originally from Florida or not, but they were fantastic oranges). I tried the combo, and it's fine as a holiday twist, but I prefer both components straight. That said, put this bottle in a basket with some oranges and you've got a nifty Halloween present for someone. Assuming, that is, you hand out Halloween presents.
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