Grouse Scotch Whisky
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  • Well, it is fair to say that Grouse is a smooth whisky and definitely one of my favourites
  • It remains clear and the swirling mix of water and whisky is interesting to look at, though few, I suppose do

    • by Andrew HN Gray

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      The world’s drinks market is flooded out by a huge range of drinks, both soft and alcoholic. The European market alone must account for a sizeable percentage of that, as Italy is the largest producer of wine in the world (to the surprise of many) and the French cannot be far behind. However, not only does Europe lead the field in the production of wines, it also has a vast array of other drinks, falling into the category of spirits. Every country has its own brand of spirit, from grappa in Italy to Metaxa brandy in Greece. Foremost among the pack, however, is the Scotch whisky industry.

      Although Scotch whiskies must meet certain specific criteria to be labelled Scottish, it is a fact that the industry is now overwhelmingly owned by foreign – or, if British, then non-Scottish – companies. This is something which means that names which were once regarded as part of the very fabric of British life no longer grace the advertising hoardings; names like ‘Haig’ and ‘Black and White’ are no more to be found on advertising boards, or in off-licences. This is sad, because such names were those of well-loved brands, many of which were good quality whiskies. In Scotland,

      of course, whisky (spelled with no ‘e’ in it, unlike Irish and American whiskey) is called by that name alone. The name, ‘Scotch’ originated in England when that was the term used for Scots people, as it was elsewhere, including America. That term is now viewed with a considerable lack of enthusiasm in Scotland and would be regarded as an insult were it to be used to describe a Scotsman in the early twenty-first century. However, as a term to describe a food or drink product, it is perfectly acceptable and lamb and beef sold in Scotland are routinely described as ‘Scotch’.

      Although the once-popular names I have mentioned above seem to have disappeared from Scottish pubs and off-licences, there are enormous numbers of brands which are good-quality products and ones which are popular in the marketplace. The leading brand in this case, is ‘The Famous Grouse’, a whisky made in Perth, a town, recently elevated to city status, just south of the Highlands. Sharing its birthplace with the other leading Scottish brand, ‘Bell’s’, Grouse has a leading place in Scots’ affections due to its imaginative advertising campaign on TV using computer animation to bring the Grouse to life in an idiosyncratic way.

      What of the drink ...

      • itself, though? Grouse has to share the marketplace with a bewildering array of whiskies, ranging from pure grain at one end (though this is not a common type of whisky), through blends, of which it is one, to blended malts and then pure malts at the other extreme. How does it fare in the taste arena? Well, it is fair to say that Grouse is a smooth whisky and definitely one of my favourites. It avoids the harshness that some popular, though cheaper blends fall prey to. There are blends available in Scotland which never leave the country, just as there are Scotch whiskies sold overseas that no Scotsman has ever heard of. However, Grouse is a consistently good brand, with a good, deep golden colour, as one has come to expect of Scotch. As with other Scotches since the last century, of course, Grouse does not become cloudy with the admixture of water. It remains clear and the swirling mix of water and whisky is interesting to look at, though few, I suppose do.

        Grouse has a ‘nose’, as one would call it, which has a definite malty tang. However, this is not extreme, as many people are not keen on the pure malt taste,

        which is redolent of the peaty moorlands of the Highlands. It smells more of Highland whiskies, which are lighter than Islay malts, but which still retain a certain ‘peatiness’ due to the water used, which is from the Perth area. Scottish water, which is an essential component of Scotch whisky, is quite unlike English water. It is soft and has a distinct, clean taste to it. This lends itself to the production of a clean, pure-tasting whisky like Grouse in the blending, but also as a way to make the whisky into a longer drink. Scottish purists would never drink their whisky with anything else. Englishmen are known to add soda to theirs, which makes a not unpleasant drink, but which alters the taste. With a good whisky like Grouse, this is a sin. However, to drink it with Coke, as a foreign gentleman in a bar I used to run did, every night, is a sin which is unforgivable. Whisky – and, in this case, Grouse - is not a drink that requires the addition of another flavour to be drinkable, like gin. It is a drink in itself, whether neat or with water. It should never be polluted by the addition of other additives!

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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in January, 2010. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 271001947150431/k2311a0110/1.10.10
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