8 June 2011

The Naked Grouse "A Great Gaggle of a Dram"

Despite being perceived by some as just another big bulk selling blend, that you’ll find hooked up to an optic in pretty much any bar in the land, 'The Famous Grouse' is infact just one of a whole gaggle of great not to be underestimated Grouse’s.

Bi and large their bottlings have all been brilliantly blended using a range of dramming dignitaries including the likes of Glenrothes, Highland Park and The Macallan.

In addition to their standard expression which can proudly hold its head high in any bar, and a selection of aged, peated and freezer friendly offerings, comes a new real premium panache packed, velvety gloved punch of a dram, in the form of 'The Naked Grouse'.

The nose kicks off with voluptuous and vivacious swirls of sumptuous sweet sherry shenanigans, followed by a reassuringly rich rumpus of devilishly decedent black cherry infused chocolate ganache, dusted with a flirting flurry of bitter cocoa powder.

A bowl of warm stewed prunes and a tray of homemade honeycomb make for the next set of scintillating sensations, along with subtle wallowing whiffs of spiced oak, smoked maplewood chips and sweet musk.

A bag of vanilla fudge from the concession stand at a funfair and a jar of orange and apricot jam from a judging table at a WI event, then dominate the proceedings briefly, before merging and balancing perfectly with all the aforementioned nasal delights.

The palate which is pretty much a restrained reflection of the nose, kicks off with calming wonderlicious waves of sherry soaked fruits and a gentle ocean spray of orange zest.

An unwrapped bar of Cadbury’s fruit and nut chocolate and a jug of Bird’s custard, that’s had far too much milk added makes for the next set of palatable protrudements. Followed by half a punnet of gooseberries and a big wedge of victoria sponge cake, filled with spiced cherry jam and not the traditional strawberry conserve, oh the WI will be up in arms.

There’s an earthy addition to the proceedings, which is soon drowned out by some vinous virberations in the form of something very reminiscent of a Jacob’s Creek Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, infused with a subtle back note of Domaine Christian Drouine 15 year old Calvados from Alchemist.

Just when you think you’re going to be treated to one heck of a long lingering finale, this dram then reluctantly decides to pull its own emergency cord and slams on the breaks, leaving you with nothing more than a whimpering winey, elastic band-esque finish.

Despite its initial hesitant departure on the palate, it’s a full on, robust rewarding blend that deserves some due care and dramming attention.