They added peat to the mix which really gives it more depth and character. While I am more into single malt scotch, I do like blends every now and then.
My main problem with blends is the lack of character. Some are basically bland. Oh, there are several that I truly enjoy, like Johnnie Walker Green and Gold, and the 10 year old Black Bottle (which they are not making any longer). But for the most part my “go to” stuff is single malt.
Then The Black Grouse came along. This is the Famous Grouse, but with peat and smoke added to the mix. When I was at WhiskyFest, where I tasted it for the first time, I was told that Highland Park was used to add the peat and smoke. I think that is what really makes this stand out. Highland Park is one of the better products out there for the price and you cannot beat the 12 year old for $36.99 at The Wine and Cheese Place in St. Louis. The Highland Park adds just the right amount of smoke and peat to give this blend a more “malty” taste and really enhances the spiciness. I find the nose to has hints of carmel and honey. The palate is floral, smoke, peat and a hints of apricots with a long, spicy smoky finish.
Several of my whisky friends are not into the heavily peated and smoky products like Ardbeg and Laphroaig. This is not that. This has just the right amount to introduce blended scotch drinkers to the peated single malts. Unfortunately, this is not sold in Missouri and I picked up several bottles while at WhiskyFest. If you are in a store that is carrying this, pick up a bottle. At under $30, you will not regret it.