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The Black Grouse

(70cl, 40%)

The Black Grouse

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Black Grouse Bottling Note

This bottling has been replaced by Famous Grouse Smoky Black

A delicious blended whisky, we love this peaty version of Famous Grouse. Jim Murray awarded it 94 points in the Whisky Bible. The Black Grouse, or Tetrao tetrix, is a declining species in Europe.

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Medium, quite smoky. Solid peat note, rummy sweetness, touch of dry wood.

Palate: Medium, balanced. Peat smoke, caramel, spice.

Finish: Long, slightly peaty.

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Black Grouse Reviews

Not Much Flavor

It's drinkable and I'll finish the bottle. Next time I will pay less for Teachers Highland Cream, or more for Johnnie Walker Black, and be happier about it either way.

15th November 2018

Actually very good.

Based off it's price range, and the the fact it's a blended grouse, it's a very, very good dram. slightly peaty on the nose, some sweetness on the palate. Missing the complexity of single malts, but if you're looking for an Islay "starter pack" you could do much, much worse.

22nd February 2018

Good introduction to peated whiskey for the price...

Light, mildly peated, cedar and sugar cane notes. Mellow and refreshing. Probably only half as Smokey as a reputable Islay malt... making it a good introduction to peated whiskey for the price.

3rd August 2017

weak but not actually unpleasant

Weak. The flavours are not anything special and when the peat arrives on the finish the flavours all disappear.
It's not a bad dram given that it's so cheap...
Just buy Johnnie Walker black label, a much better drink!

6th May 2017

weak but not actually unpleasant

Weak flavours - I found a sugary/honey note, a little malt, and a breath of spice. On the finish the peat appears, a nice smoulder and then the flavours essentially dissolve.
Compared it to Johnny Walker black label, JW:BL is a much better drink. Much better stronger flavours.

6th May 2017

Very difficult to find in Thailand

I like it very much but very hard to find in Thailand

18th March 2017

If You Are Looking For Peaty

The Black Grouse is an excellent choice.

7th July 2016

Awesome, cheap & smokey!

Love it!. Decent whisky and only for a fraction of those Jura.

30th June 2016

Peat Lovers rejoice

Not as smooth as The Peat Monster or Highland Park. Tastes young but, for the price, peaty and tasty!

18th May 2016

best for the money

For the money, just as good or better then JW Black.
Now, I do have my Lagavulin for special occasions.....

26th March 2016


Don't like the taste, not value for money !!

21st March 2016

Too much smoke?

Overpowering smoke covers the palate, only allowing peat to make its way into the taste. It goes down very smooth, as well as higher priced alternatives. An excellent introduction to heavy smoke at a good price but be warned that too much in a single sitting will compound the smoke and peat and overwhelm the palate. By the third glass all that can be discerned is burnt wood in smell, taste, and aftertaste, yet it still goes down surprisingly smooth.

20th March 2016

A good alternative

If you look for a cheaper alternative from the islay whiskeys it's the only one (not very close though) . It is light peated - smoked, but smooth and nice. still far from a Lagavulin or a Talisker.

28th January 2016

An excellent value dram, but not to be compared to the Islay malts.

I recently picked up a bottle of FG "Smokey Black" for under £20 from a large supermarket chain without realising it was a rebrand of the Black Grouse, a blended whisky I had enjoyed before.

I am a big fan of peaty whiskies, Adberg being a particular favorite, and after sampling several bottles of my collection with a few friends of Christmas, I remembered the Grouse and thought it would be interesting to compare. As it turned out, it wasn't very interesting at all with a rough, almost chemical, taste after the Islay single malts, not at all how I remembered the Black Grouse. However, I persevered and had a dram the next evening without getting my pallet accustomed to the expensive stuff first, and it's a surprisingly decent whisky with a reasonable amount of peat and smoke and an enjoyable ash finish, just how I remembered it's predecessor. One glass soon turned into three or four.

I usually keep a bottle of blended whisky in the cupboard for 'medicinal' purposes, I add a generous measure to a mug of coffee to ward off the effects of a cold, but FG Smoky Black is a bit too good for that.

10th January 2016


U had a free bottle went down well very smooth

1st January 2016

The best......l Love

31st December 2015


First there is Ash. Then there is Headache. Strong fake smoke might make this not able to mix.

6th December 2015

It is what it is...!

Firstly, I should state that I am in no way a "Whisky snob" who writes off all blends as 2nd rate. This "premium" blend "featuring rare single malt from Glenturret" I'm sorry to say is mediocre. Whilst superior in every way to the regular expression, it is eclipsed by similar blends in the same price range (such as Cutty Sark Storm/Prohibition expression). I got this on offer at Te**o for £15 and for that I am not too disappointed. As others have stated, it makes a decent everyday Whisky or one for making cocktails/mixing, but not a sipper in any way as there is far too much young grain whisky present. I will say however that is is considerably smoother than expected and much, much better than regular Grouse. Try it sometime if you can get it on offer like me.

28th November 2015

Great Taste!

I was very impressed,much more pleasing than Johnny Red,has the smoothness of Buschmills,love the smoked oak taste! This is my holiday drink for sure.

20th November 2015

Ian A L Irving

For a blended whisky it is the next best thing to Islay or Jura single malts for a fraction of the price. a 10 for a blend.

18th October 2015

good for every day drinking, not for a proper dram

It's not a bad whisky may I say, fruit notes and peat smoke was quite obvious. The medical notes were over though, along with strong alcoholic sensations after swallowing. I'm a smoky whisky lover but this one just didn't satisfy me. Considering I just bought it at tesco for £10.55 I'm giving it four stars. Excellent value, you can't even get cheapest aldi lidl stuff at this price. But if you're looking for a dram with longer aftertaste you might want to get Johnnie.

16th October 2015

Not so Good

It just has too much young grain whisky and ash that spoil the taste. There is also some sickly unpleasant sherry notes that pervade throughout the experience. There are many better options in this price point.

2nd September 2015

Very good for the price!

Yes I am aware that I'm giving it a 5, its because its a very good product when taken into consideration the price. This tastes VERY alike Johnnie walker black but with more body,richness, and smoke. It has a very coal ash taste on the finish (tastes good!). Johnnie walker black has been a favourite of mine but black grouse may take place of it as my daily dram, its that good!

Overall: When compared to Johnnie walker, black grouse tastes pretty much the same. Except Black grouse has more malty flavour, richness, and smoke. Whereas Johnnie walker black is sweeter, and is fruitier.

Excellent value for money, definitely gonna be keep getting this. If you like Johnnie walker black, give this a try!

24th August 2015

Nice Surprise

I have over 50+ bottles in my Scotch collection with 90% being from the Islay/Island because of love my peaty, smokey scotch. I purchased this bottle on a whim and I am glad I did. This is very comparable to Bowmore 12. I can still tell a major difference from some of the higher price Scotches, but this one is probably the best bang for your buck.

26th July 2015

Nice smoke, bit of fruit

All the James Bonds of whiskey can continue to pay double for Langevin because they think they can tell the difference in an expensive bottle. For those of us who are secure in our preferences without having to $$$ this is a nice drink.

11th July 2015

Dangerously easy to drink

I have thousands of pounds worth of exotic single malts and quite frankly this is one of the most drinkable whiskies I've ever had. Sweet, smooth and smokey with a lovely long finish and all for £20 - absolute bargain!

26th June 2015

Wonderful Scotch

Priced like JW Red tastes better than JW Black Reminds me of Highland Park 12 Great Value

25th June 2015

Above average

A bit sulfured in these days, I understand. This is relatively good blend, but leaves some much on the table. Too sweet and easy, this is made for general public. Famous Grouse is capable so much more, but they just won't do it.

2nd June 2015

A surprising pleasure and thrill for a whiskey drinker.

This whiskey is a first rate beverage by a first-class producer. Black Grouse is smooth, satisfying and utterly first-rate in. It's apprehension. To drink this marvellous whiskey is to experience the best of the best, it it a taste of heaven.

21st May 2015

I´m go to proove it tomorrow at night.-

Received a botlle today I´m never prooved it, hope to be an good drink.-
I write from Uruguay.- Hope you understand my bad english.- César
Lo tomaremos con un asado uruguayo.-Saludos

14th May 2015

Great Tasting Smoky Peated Blend.

I bought this 'Black Grouse' Blend recently for £15 on offer at My Local Supermarket and thought it was a chance to give it a try as I have only ever tried the Original 'Famous Grouse' blend in the past.I thought this 'Black Grouse' blend tasted like a 'Single Malt' at first as the taste was superb 'Smoky peated malt' fantastic.What a great value and quality whisky this is even without the offer price.I often treat myself to a 'Single Malt' but this takes some beating for the price and taste.I will now look out for this one again,Well Done 'Black Grouse'.

21st April 2015

Pleasantly surprised.

One of the few blended Scotch Whiskeys that I have enjoyed. Typically, I drink Single Malts, only. Congrats! So, do you sponsor Ron White? If not, you should!

Zan Zeige

19th April 2015

A big let down

So boring, no character, no depth, just bland

18th April 2015

black grouse

ok underwhelming would not buy it again
very disappointing , whats all the hype would rate it 55 out of a hundred
single grain from aldi tastes better than this

17th March 2015


I'm sorry, but I was so disappointed. What is this? A strong chemical taste cutting through my taste buds like a samurai sword in the name of whisky? Even when smelling it I get that chemical feel.
Something went terribly wrong here, do it again, do it right. Please.
Since it doesn’t even work with coke, it can’t actually get you drunk – and that’s really a bad review from a Swede!

12th March 2015


Better than most blends, it doesn't have that awful Saccharin artificial sweetness about it. Its a proper old fashioned whisky.

22nd February 2015

Love it

I usually have single malt whiskey but was absolutely pleasantly surprised with the taste of Black Grouse. I will definitely keep a bottle in stock.

14th February 2015


first off let me say I love smokey whisky. Lagavulin is a particular treat and anything from islay in general. However this is the worst thing I've ever had, thin, acetoney, fake peat/smoke taste, at least with normal grouse you can mix it, this is garbage. like a previous reviewer I couldn't bear to pour it out, so at the back of my cabinet shall it remain. (or until I can palm it off to some sucker) Spend £10 more and get a proper 10yr old from islay if smoke is your thing

31st January 2015

Damon Icker

A year ago I met a man who told me he liked blended whisky better than most single malts. Well - it was an opinion. I tasted Black Grouse for the first time recently; it is quite simply the finest whisky that I have ever tasted - well that may be a little excessive but - I've never tasted better.

30th January 2015

Give it some time

Ended up drinking it with a bit of ice, gave it a bit of time in the glass and quite satisfied. Actually enjoyed it a lot!

5th January 2015


You can't go far wrong with this. Very drinkable, even at twice the price-point of White Horse here in the UAE, a good all-rounder. Marginally prefer this to JWB. This has a fairly consistent flavour profile whereas JWB seems different on every encounter - not necessarily a good thing when you just want a regular go-to.

22nd December 2014

Good stuff (remember it's a blend, popular blend, nothing more)

It is not Laphroaig...
It is not Caol Ila...
It is just good old Grouse with a peaty punch - and I just love it (at that price, of course)

15th December 2014

eureka moment

I always drank my whisky straight, thinking that adding ice or water was sacrilege, how stupid was I? A good friend and whisky lover explained to me that just a couple of drops of water can really open up the flavour in some whisky and it's so true with black grouse, 3 or 4 drops of cold water in a large dram and this whisky is vastly improved and a lovely dram.

5th December 2014

Too clever by half

Inste4aed of all the promo bullshit, why did you not tell us exactly what Black Grouse actually is?

I presume it is a blend of all single malts but would not know it from your 'review'.

29th November 2014


From the first whiff, the whisky gave off a very sour pungency, which was confirmed upon tasting. It was also overly phenolic, and together with the sour notes, it was a very unpleasant experience. Since I cannot bear to pour out a whisky, the bottle has taken residence under the sink at the rear of the cabinet.

27th November 2014


a great blend of gentle smokeyness and peat.A lovely long finish.curently my fav tipple.

22nd October 2014

Great value

Nice smoky taste. I like the usual Grouse but the Black is so much better. At this price it is a steal. We all like single malts - cannot believe this is a blend!

18th October 2014

Read the reviews, got a bottle-Disappointed!

A very bland mix. Sure there's a smoky peaty note in there but it's too weak and the whiskey is too mild really has little taste/punch, tasting a few days later after drinking some decent single malt, this stuff is more reminiscent of some kind of water that's had old rubber hosepipes resting in it for months. If you want to enjoy peat, get Laphroig-forget a mix like this (lol). Can't see what the fuss is all about, i'd rather pay more and get something decent.

17th October 2014

Very good

I drink johnie walker black,I was given a bottle of Black Grouse for the holidays.Full taste with some smokey,Very good neet From the mountains of Colorado,USA

5th October 2014

Lovely surprise...

I am stunned really...bought this as it is featured in Ian Buxton's "101 Whiskies...Before You Die"...and his recommendation was spot on...Full, rich, smokey with some peat...a really lovely drop...and I'm stunned that I could pick it up for 16 quid from Sainsbury's...I'm used to paying about 10 times that for whiskies of this quality, complexity and taste...a major find...a very happy one too

28th September 2014


Lighter fluid.

31st August 2014

Best Blended Scotch, and best value, I have found

If money were no object I would prefer pure Isle of Islay single malts like Ardbeg, Laphroig and Bowmore, but the Black Grouse comes remarkably close to the real thing, with honey on the front end and deep peaty goodness on the finish, and at a fraction of the cost.

19th August 2014

One of the Best Blends for the Money

If you like a bit of peat in your whisky as well as some toffee/caramel flavouring then give this whisky a try. It is simply one of the best blends for the money that you will find out there. And the price makes this my everyday whisky of choice. Cheers.

3rd August 2014


первый виски со вкусом ШПАЛ И РЕЛЬСОВ!

2nd May 2014

nice everyday dram

not bad for the price..I love islay malts so could do with a tad more peat for me..but there is the alpha at a higher is it worth trying that or going for my usaul Lagavulin or Talisker instead..i think the latter two..but still worth getting this for an everyday drink

6th April 2014

Good work.

Glad I've discovered this stuff. I love peated Islay malts, can't afford for those to be my daily dram though. This stuff means I can get my daily peat fix and leave the Ardbeg Uigeadail for special occasions. Well in, Grouse. A cracking blend. I think a tastier whisky would be hard to find at the price.

4th March 2014


Not too bad, just missing something.I dont get the peaty/smoke/islay thing, but that might be me.

22nd January 2014

What an Improvement !

Having written-off Famous Grouse as an uninspiring bland blend I was unsure when this Black version arrived as a present. It is so much better than the original, as it adds some great peaty/smoke to the sweet toffee style. It's also great value, but you can't compare it to JW black that has the benefit of 12 years maturation and added complexity and style.

30th December 2013

Best value for money.

I love Islay single malts but cant afford to drink them on a regular basis, this however is the closest you can come to a single malt without the hefty price-tag! My new drink of choice.

19th December 2013

Solid value blend

It's a nice little blend with a very gentle touch of peat/smoke at a very reasonable price. Definitely on the sweet side like Famous Grouse, but not too much. However, you can't expect more than that. It lacks complexity and the flavours just don't seem so well integrated as in truly great blends like JW Black or the Ballantine's 12 or 17. There's also significantly less peat than in Black Bottle, another nice value blend.

Still, it's not bad at all and a quite acceptable "everyday" sip. At this price point, it's difficult to find a better Scotch.

5th November 2013

Smokey, good aftertaste

fairly new to the world of whisky. After sampling lots of different whiskys at Edinburgh festival have been searching for a blended whisky at an affordable price to get close to the likes of Jura Superstition (among others). not disappointed by the taste:value ratio. Yet to be experienced enough to give an in depth review - but I know what I like and this is great for the relatively low price.

19th October 2013

Great blend

Delicious spice finish,I think this is one of the great differentials of Black Grouse. Balanced peat smoke and chocolate. Oil and smooth. Gorgeous blend, for me one of the best blends.

12th October 2013

Spectacular value for money

As a university student (read: poor as a church rat) in Finland where whisky is taxed like a 16th century english peasant, good whisky at a good price is hard to come by. This is an absolute STEAL. wonderful balance and moutfeel with that gorgeous highland park peat. It is very smooth, so don't expect a big islay smack in the face. This is a subtle but very full-flavoured blend.

Highly recommended!

10th July 2013

I Get My Islay Fix w/o the $$$

I really enjoy the Islay singles. I wouldn't consider them an every day dram, but in the right time and place there is nothing like them. Laphroaig is great for those dark cold nights and memories of place I'm glad I don't need to go to again. Black Grouse brings those flavors to mind in a most enjoyable way.

9th February 2013

Keep returning to this one

I have 7 or 8 on my shelf, but I keep returning to this in the evenings! Not too peaty, light and better than any other blend I have tried.

20th January 2013

A very good blend

This a good smoky, moderately sweet, lightly tarry blended whisky. The Overall balance is excellent. I think the JW black label is still better. If Black Grouse would be 12 yo, it could make a real difference.

11th September 2012

A Good Compromise

I usually drink Islay malts, but on a recent trip away for work, didn't fancy splashing out the $50+ you'd pay for one in Canada. I knew Black Grouse was a bit more Islay accented than Famous Grouse so bought a bottle to keep me company for the duration and I wasn't disappointed. A slight hint of peatiness betrays its Islay roots, but otherwise it is an extremely smooth and easy drinking whisky. For a blend it is quite complex with hints of golden syrup on the nose with an underlying smokiness and a subtle heather sweetness on the palate with that exciting peaty undertone to keep Islay lovers like me happy.

21st July 2012

The Grouseman

Agree totally with the Best Blend's comments. Is an excellent drink its a pity it doenst get as many mentions as the Famous Grouse

2nd February 2011

The best blend

When I first tried this I thought it was a single malt. A lot of complexity, really a very well made dram. Not so Islay as it is a rich Highland taste. Great finish too.

6th October 2009

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