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Famous Grouse vs Black Label: Discover the Better!

Discover the differences between Famous Grouse vs Johnnie Walker Black Label in this in-depth comparison and decide which whisky is better for You!

Famous Grouse

famous-grouse
NoseApple, caramel, barley
PalateCaramel, citrus, honey, smoke
FinishMalt, citrus
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toMonkey Shoulder, Jameson

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.

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

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 such as the Red Label.

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.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Famous Grouse:

  • 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.
  • This conglomerate owns some of the best Scotch brands such as Macallan and Highland Park.

Johnnie Walker Black Label

johnnie-walker-black-label
NoseVanilla, orange zest, nectarine
PalateSmoke, roasted malt, caramel, vanilla
FinishLong, fruity, peppery, smoke
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkRocks
Similar toGlenlivet Founder’s, Jameson

On the nose, there is vanilla off the gate, followed by orange zest, nectarine and a whiff of alcohol.

On the palate, body feels somewhat thin lacking in texture. The Black Label has a mildly sweet taste, with a flavor rich in peat. There are also hints of caramel and vanilla coming coming late to the party.

The finish has some peat, black pepper, salt, caramel and a bit of warmth but is not harsh.

Overall, the Johnnie Walker Black Label is a reliable whisky, striking a good balance of smoke and sweetness, with peat smoke and charred oak barrel smoke.

Quite smooth but with a warm finish that does not overwhelm. Nevertheless, on a lot of ice as it is commonly served it totally hits the spot.

The Black Label serves as an introductory bottle to smoky Scotch Whisky, those with a hint coming from the peats used to dry the malted barley.

If you are curious about Scotch smoky whisky this is a good starting point due to its affordable price before trying the peaty monster from Islay.

Overall, Black Label is one of the best age statement blends in the market in its current price range and a good choice for an “everyday Scotch” or to make homemade cocktails such as Highballs or Scotch & Soda.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Black Label:

  • The Black Label is a blend of 40 whiskies made from grain and malts aged for at least 12 years from all over Scotland.
  • The blend includes peaty whiskies from Islay, sweet and salty whiskies from Speyside along some malts coming from the Scottish Highlands.
  • Johnnie Walker is the best-selling whisky brand across the world doubling the sales of the closest competitor. The brand was started by a Scottish grocer, John Walker, in the early 19th century.
  • This brand belongs Diageo, the British drinks giant who also owns Don Julio Tequila, Casamigos, and 200 other brands!

Famous Grouse vs Black Label: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskyPrice
Famous Grouse$24
Johnnie Walker Black Label$40

Famous Grouse vs Johnnie Walker Black: Which is better?

Black Label is a more interesting whisky

WhiskeyFamous GrouseBlack Label
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • The Black Label is a far more interesting whisky making the baseline for most people who take whisky tasting seriously.
  • It serves as an introductory whisky to the smoky whisky and provides great value as you are unlikely to find a 12 year old whisky at this price.
  • The Famous Grouse is a basic release, a sweet and malty whisky, very easy to sip, with no harsh or complicated notes and attractively priced. Hence its popularity in Scotland and the UK.

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