[Review] The Famous Grouse - Early 2000s bottle 40%

Something a bit different today. Yes, as you will have noticed from the title, it is the standard Famous Grouse blend, but this one is actually the very first bottle of whisky I think I ever bought. I must have bought it at university about 13 years ago so that places it as an early 2000s bottle. I had completely forgotten about it until my mum mentioned it to me last summer when I was over in France. It had been stored away in a cupboard and had never been opened since the party I had bought it for. Now of course, it means that oxidation will have taken place in the 1 liter bottle, especially as there is only about 1/5 of the bottle left.
What prompted my interest is the fact that many reviews about whisky mention how previous editions generally seem to be better than current ones (Johnnie Walker Black amongst these) and that's why I thought let's bring it back with me and see what it actually is like. The only thing is, I have still not got round to buying a new bottle to properly compare them, but I guess I should have enough left in this one for it to happen in the future.
Another thing I noticed with this bottle is the fact that it is clearly stated on the label that this "blend is crafted from the finest malt whiskies, such as The Macallan and Highland Park", something no longer apparent on the current bottles. So let's see what it is like after 13 years in a cupboard...

I guess as usual, this blend was chill-filtered and coloured as you can tell by its orange gold appearance. It is also bottled at 40%.

Nose: The first thing which hit me is how good the nose is for a blend which has been opened for that long. I don't know if the fact of reading it on the label had any subliminal influence on my nose but I do really get the mix of Macallan -with a rich sweetness, some sherry notes, raisins, honey, prunes- and Highland Park notes -some light smoke, heather. There are also fruitier and more floral hints with a bit of confectionery sweetness. Not bad at all!

Palate: Sweet, some nuttiness, heather, malt notes, hints of smoke, some rich dried fruit again (raisin and prunes), sherry, but also some bitterness, bitter chocolate.

Finish: Well the finish is not that long as you might have expected, some sweetness still, walnuts too, and still some bitterness.

With water: I only tried with a couple of drops but I felt it would do more harm than good... The nose becomes a bit sweeter but less complex, the palate turns more watery and I feel the nuttiness and bitterness take over the finish somehow. The last few drams from the bottle will definitely be without any water added.

Overall, I must admit I was really not expecting much of this old opened bottle of blend but was pleasantly surprised. The nose particularly provides a very enjoyable experience followed by the palate. The finish is a little disappointing but again, no major surprise. I definitely need to get hold of a new bottle to compare before and after. Watch this space!


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