Just north of Perth, Scotland there is a distillery called Glenturret. As American’s we have probably never heard of their single malt, but we are all well aware of the Famous Grouse. This famous blend has a visitor center here that, no offense, is beyond cheesy. Don’t get me wrong, the tour guides and everyone working there were lovely and knowledgeable. Although, I did feel it was the most scripted routine and tour I have been on yet. I also made the mistake of going to this famous tourist destination on a Saturday during French holiday season. Enough said. Oh and also there was a biker gang in town for an event, so I guess you could say this didn’t start my experience off perfectly.
Either way, I didn’t and still really don’t know a ton about the blend market. This is a huge part of the whisky industry and is important for me to learn more. I have heard of Famous Grouse, but never have tried. The distillery and Famous Grouse brand is owned by Edrington Group. They have an interesting portfolio of spirits between The Macallan and Cutty Sark along with a few others.
They don’t actually “make” Famous Grouse here. They use this facility to be the home of the internationally known Famous Grouse Experience. Throughout the tour they talk about their single malt “Glenturret” and also the famous blend. Kristy Campbell, the master blender, gets a really nice shout out at the end of the tour for her nose being worth quite a bit of money. She is in charge of keeping the Famous Grouse recipe the same year after year. That would be an awesome job.
I want to talk specifically about the Glenturret single malt because I really enjoyed their 10 year. They get their water from Loch Turret, which explains the name. They have eight pine washbacks and use the M strain distillers yeast. On site they have six bonded warehouses, but otherwise everything gets sent to Glasgow for cask filling, bottling etc. Edrington is based in Glasgow. You will find throughout the site two very friendly cats running around. They actually have their own beds right near the stills which probably is great in the winter for warmth! The names of the cats are Glen and Turret. They typically age in ex-bourbon and sherry casks and the bourbon tend to be from Jim Beam. Currently, Glenturret doesn’t export. They sell enough on site at the distillery in the visitor center along with a few specialty shops and duty free. S we will not find this in American Liquor stores. Where as Famous Grouse is of course much different. They have been ranked #1 Blend in the UK for 30 years (not sure if they still hold this title) and it is sold in 120 countries.
Here are my tasting notes for the Famous Grouse Blend and the Glenturret 10 Year.
Holly’s Tasting Note..
Nose: Honey, cereal, leafy, vanilla, slight floral.
Palate: HONEYCOMB cereal! (We want our honeycomb! – millennials should remember this commercial), pine, orange and biscuit flavors.
I also got to try the Snow Grouse- which should be chilled and served on ice. Too sweet for me, but you non-whisky believers should give it a try next time you are day drinking!
Glenturret 10 Year
Holly’s Tasting Note..
Nose: Orange cream, light ice cream?, toffee, spice.
Palate: Some milk chocolate, kettle corn, oak, thick sweetness. Hayfields. This one took a bit to grow on you..
The core of the Glenturret single malt collection includes: 10 Year, 16 year, 26 year, Sherry Cask, Triple Wood and peated.
Next up is Aberfeldy.. (Dewars)