Taste: The Black Grouse Alpha Edition


The famous Grouse range continues to expand and after a revealing session with the Master Blender Gordon Motion, a new appreciation for this famous blend was gained. Growing up in Scotland, the original blend with it's iconic imagery is everywhere. The Black Grouse was a step up whereas the Snow Grouse represented a pursuit of foreign markets who preferred a cool malt without the whisky taste. Made from purely grain whiskies it is interesting especially when served at the recommended minus 18. 

Naked Grouse is the new kid on the block and very enjoyable it is and a worthwhile spin, Ginger Grouse shouldn't but it does work; one of those drinks that goes down far too easily. All of this leaves us at the Black Grouse Alpha Edition in a stunning black bottle and attached feather - probably only available from the distillery. Initially launched for the travel market it is now slowly moving into more populated areas within normal retail channels. Well, feather aside, this Alpha Edition represents a more premium blend with older whiskies under the observation of the Master Blender. Is this worth the extra cash?


Consider first the distilleries that could go into this blend; Glenturret, Highland Park and Macallan plus you're paying for a little bit of extra quality. Both Highland Park and Macallan pride themselves on such quality casks and having met some of the Glenturret staff I can say they take the same pride as well. 

Distillery: It is a blend so several
Distilled: No Age Statement
Bottled: No Age Statement
Strength: 40%
Cask Type: unknown
Cask Numbers: n/a
Additional: No age statement
Price: approx £30



Colour: A sherry influence on the presentation and a radiant golden sunset.
Nose: A surprising short nose, very pleasant but swift nevertheless; orange peel and pepper arrive then depart all too quickly.
Mouth: Peaty, smoky an Islay earthiness influence given the black bottle and Ardbeg styling continues into the dram itself. A maritime, coastal edge to this blend with some toffee but little else apart from the sweetness.  

Raith's Verdict: In the bottle and in the glass, this Alpha Edition looks excellent. It noses reasonably well and the initial palate is promising but lacking depth and the finish is over very quickly. However this a very drinkable and above average blend. This isn't here to take on single malts but offer a little more quality in the blended Grouse range for an extra cost. I could quite happily work my way through this drinkable bottle. I'd recommend this as a standby bottle for the house or if you are tiring of blends and looking to step towards a single malt. This will give you food for thought on where you go next.    

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