The Naked Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 20 December 2018
The Famous Grouse
The Famous Grouse is a brand of blended Scotch whisky, first produced by Matthew Gloag & Son in 1896, and currently produced and owned by The Edrington Group. The single malt whiskies used in The Famous Grouse blend include the Edrington-owned Highland Park and The Macallan. Its emblem is the Red Grouse, Scotland’s national game bird.
It has been the highest selling whisky brand in Scotland since 1980. As a standard price blended Scotch whisky, its main competitors in its home market are Bell’s, Teacher’s and Grant’s. The majority of its UK sales are during the Christmas period.
Matthew Gloag was a grocer and wine merchant at 22 Athole Street Perth, Scotland. Gloag purchased whiskies from distilleries around Scotland, and when Queen Victoria visited Perth in 1842, he was invited to supply the wines for the royal banquet.
In 1860, his son, William Gloag, took over the company. Following the Great French Wine Blight the company began to look at creating its own blended whiskies around 1875. In 1896, William’s nephew, Matthew Gloag (1850-1912), took over the family business. He created a new blended brand called The Grouse in 1896. at this time the company was still operating from the grandfather’s premises but had expanded to occupy adjacent shops, jointly covering 20 to 26 Atrhiole street. In 1905 the limited company of Matthew Gloag & son was formed and the Grouse was renamed The Famous Grouse in the same year. Matthew Gloag’s daughter Phillippa first designed the label’s grouse icon. Only at this point did the company move to new purpose-built premises on Kinnoull Street.
In 1970, Matthew Gloag & Son, owned by the Gloag family, was sold to Highland Distillers, after the death of the chairman, Matthew Frederick Gloag. The marketing and distributive power of the company saw Famous Grouse become the highest selling Scotch in Scotland by 1980 and the second highest selling in the United Kingdom. From the 1980s the brand began to be exported overseas, where it now sells over 2 million cases annually. In 1984 The Famous Grouse was awarded the Royal Warrant.
The Famous Grouse is also notable for being the first blending company to release a cask finished blended whisky. The company founded The Famous Grouse Experience at the Glenturret distillery and the experience is as much a museum for whisky distillation as it is about the Grouse brand.
The Naked Grouse (40%)
An interesting addition to the Famous Grouse range, this was aged in first fill sherry casks, and is based around malt whisky from Highland Park and Macallan.
To see what I think of this spirit, watch my Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar tasting on YouTube here: