Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Review - The Famous Grouse Mellow Gold

The Famous Grouse blended Scotch whisky brand has a new permanent addition to its core range named Mellow Gold.  The new blend has been created by Gordon Motion, the Master Blender for The Famous Grouse, and features a higher percentage of single malt and ex-sherry cask matured whisky than the regular expression of The Famous Grouse.  The bottling features a new packaging design, which is appearing across the core range, and is available now from supermarkets and independent retailers in the UK.  The Mellow Gold is bottled at 40% ABV and a bottle will cost £22.

The Famous Grouse brand is currently owned by the Edrington Group and was first created by Matthew Gloag & Son. The company was started in 1800 by Matthew Gloag from his wine merchant and grocery shop in the town of Perth. They imported and supplied wine to Queen Victoria, amongst other wealthy clients. In 1860, Matthew's son William took over and started buying whisky from various distilleries around Scotland and blending them, as was the trend at the time. The popularity of his blends grew and in 1896, his son (also called Matthew) launched The Grouse, which later became The Famous Grouse in 1905.  It is currently the UK's largest selling brand of blended Scotch whisky.

Did you know?
The iconic grouse logo was originally a pencil sketch, which was drawn by Matthew's daughter when The Grouse first appeared in the late 1800s. A version is still used on the label of the The Famous Grouse today and it has become a popular character that appears in TV adverts, posters and other marketing material and merchandise.

Our tasting notes
The colour is a deep golden yellow and there are instant aromas of fudge, toffee and dried fruits on the nose (think of sultanas especially).  Underneath are further notes of candied orange peel, bittersweet cereals and some woody baking spices, with cinnamon and mace particularly prominent.  A hint of cocoa powder also comes through.

On the palate it is the bittersweet cereals and candied orange peel that dominates to start with.  This gives the whisky a delicious bitter and juicy feel, which start to fade and integrate as the sweeter and softer elements begin to come through.  This sweetness is driven by notes of crumbly brown sugar, toffee and lots of vanilla, with just a hint of black treacle.  These notes are backed up by dried fruits (think of sultanas, apple and something of a tropical nature) and warming wood spices, especially cinnamon.  Further hints of cocoa, almonds and ginger add depth.

The finish has a good length and is soft and sweet.  The dried fruits and toffee notes are prominent and complimented by soft, warming wood spices.  As these fade, the bittersweet cereals and candied orange characteristics take hold and linger.

What's the verdict?
The Mellow Gold is a nice, easy drinking whisky that is a welcome addition to the Famous Grouse core range.  It will be suited for those wanting something a bit sweeter and spicier than the regular expression.  These characteristics would also make it ideal for having with a mixer or in a cocktail.  The quality is good for the price and it should become a favourite with consumers.


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