...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Things I Really Drink: Famous Grouse 18 year old Blended Malt (bottled in 2007)

Okay, I've been hiding this for years. I adore Famous Grouse 18 year old blended malt. Flawlessly assembled, FG18 had a better balance of sherry cask and malt than Macallan 18, and sometimes showed more complexity. It was also the perfect blending whisky. Drop it into anything, or drop anything into it, and you'll announce your brilliance after the first sip. Johnnie Walker hasn't had anything like this for at least forty years.

I know this is a super hot take, considering Edrington stopped producing this whisky almost a decade ago. But you know me, always relevant. It wasn't until FG18 was discontinued and stores were trying to get rid of it that I discovered the stuff, around seven years ago, for the price of $49.99. Eighteen-year-old sherried non-Kirkland single malt for fifty bucks? Yes please. I had three bottles. One remains.

Using Edrington's old convoluted bottle code (detailed in this Highland Park post), I figured out that all three of my FG18s were bottled in 2007. Considering that date, here are some possible ingredients: Bunnahabhain, Glengoyne, Glenturret, Glenrothes, Macallan, and Highland Park, all quite sherried.

Here are some tasting notes that are probably quite useless.

Brand: The Famous Grouse
Ownership: The Edrington Group
Type: The Blended (or Vatted) Malt
Age: minimum 18 years
Maturation: mostly sherry casks
Bottle code: L0968G L8 21/11 16:39
Bottling year: 2007
Alcohol by Volume: 43%
Chillfiltered? Probably
e150a? Probably
(from my bottle)


The nose notes arrive in groups: Almonds in toffee. Dark chocolate and dried cherries. Manuka honey and a whiff of musty dunnage. Hints of manure, smoke, and walnuts in the distance.

The palate has a layer of figs, plums, sultanas, and tingly citrus on top. Almond flour, bitter herbs, and lightly toasted oak assemble in the middle. Earth, minerals, and hay highlight the background.

The moderately sweet and tart finish lasts longer than expected, with plums, dried apricots, bitter herbs, and floral sake(!) drifting and drifting and drifting...


It's delicious, and does anything else matter? It's also surprisingly bold for a filtered 43%abv production, so the blenders must have included plenty of lovely, possibly older, casks in the mix. Can you imagine Edrington dumping those gems into a blend today?! Yes, I'm certainly leaning on too many superlatives right now, but FG18 has been so reliable, and become so familiar, that I can't just say, "yeah, it's a very good blended malt" without waxing romantic a little bit. It's a whisky of the past, and yeah, it's a very good blended malt.

Availability - 
maybe somewhere out there
Pricing - ???
Rating - 88

1 comment:

  1. Well,hello. I scored a dozen bottles about 10 years ago. For my palate its an amazing example of how good sherry can be with peat. I love pleated sherry. I agree that this gem would never be made today. Back in the day the bottlers were not afraid to use great old casks to round out blended malts. Such a pity. One step forward is really two steps back.