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Cutty Sark vs Famous Grouse: Discover the Better!

Discover the differences between Cutty Sark vs Famous Grouse in this in-depth comparison and decide which Scotch is better for You!

Cutty Sark

  • Nose: Sour apples, pepper, alcohol
  • Palate: Lemon, honey, black pepper, alcohol
  • Finish: Short-lived, fruity and peppery
  • Alcohol content: 80 proof (40% ABV)
  • How to drink: Highball
  • Similar to: J&B


The nose is quite bad as it provides a sour apple note off the gate, followed by a peppery note, along a whiff of alcohol.

On the palate, the Cutty Sark feels thin, with a watery texture.

Flavor is lemon and honey up-front, with black pepper, oak spice and alcohol coming behind overwhelming the taste.

The finish is short-lived, with a faint fruity note and more peppery and oak spice bitter notes.

Is it good?

The Cutty Sark does not make a good sipper as it is too peppery, bitter and alcoholic.

It improves when served on the rocks as ice tunes down some of the bad notes although the better use of the Cutty Sark is in cocktails.

If you drown it in soda you can make a decent highball and is not bad when mixed with ginger ale.

Overall, the Cutty Sark is not a good tasting whisky and even though is cheap it does not provide good value for the money.

The best this whisky has to offer is the label which is quite nice and brings a nostalgic note.

Cutty Sark facts:

  • This whisky is not as old as others in the industry as it was launched in 1923, named after the famous British clipper ship.
  • Cutty Sark belonged for many years to the Edrington Group who owns top brands such as Macallan, Highland Park and Glenrothes, with the latter providing most of the malts in the blend.
  • Unfortunately Edrington sold Cutty Sark in 2018. La Martiniquaise, the new owner, does not disclose the origin of the whiskies in the blend leaving us in the dark.

Famous Grouse

  • Nose: Apple, caramel, barley
  • Palate: Caramel, citrus, honey, smoke
  • Finish: Malt, citrus
  • Alcohol content: 80 proof (40% ABV)
  • How to drink: Cocktails
  • Similar to: Dewar’s


Nose is faint, with subtle notes of apple, caramel and barley.

On the palate, the Famous Grouse provides caramel sweetness up-front, with notes of honey and sherry, followed by a hint of orange.

It has a mineral note and a tiny tad of smoke bringing balance to the sweetness.

The finish is short-lived, leaving a malty aftertaste behind, with a bit of oak spice, orange and caramel.

Is it good?

Nothing spectacular or remarkable, yet nothing bad about it. Just a serviceable whisky that drinks nicely with a dash of water as the Scots been drinking whisky for the ages.

This an affordable whisky making an easy everyday drinker with no challenging notes. Now you know why is it so popular in Scotland.

The Famous Grouse has been the best-selling whisky in Scotland since 1980.

It is superior to most Scotch blends in this price range. A simple whisky but it is smooth and lacks the overpowering bitterness that is found in other budget blends.

This whisky is widely improved when adding a dash of water. Just a few drops of water break the whisky allowing rich floral notes to emerge whilst tuning-down alcoholic notes.

If you are curious about what the Scots drink give it a shot.

Famous Grouse facts:

  • The Grouse is a blend of malt and grain whiskies aged for just 6 months in seasoned sherry and bourbon casks.
  • The Famous Grouse belongs to the Royal Family of Scotch whisky as it is owned by the Edrington Group.

Cutty Sark vs Famous Grouse: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD

Cutty Sark$26
Famous Grouse$26

Cutty Sark vs Famous Grouse: Which is better?

Famous Grouse is widely superior to the Cutty Sark

WhiskeyCutty SarkFamous Grouse
  • The Grouse is a solid whisky offering great value for the money as you can sip it or mix it whilst the Cutty Sark serves primarily as a mixer.
  • It’s smooth and sweet with a rich orange note making a nice easy drinker.
  • Now you know why the Famous Grouse is Scotland’s favorite whisky. Although not the best-selling in the UK; that honor belongs to Bell’s!

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