Black Grouse

Whisky ligger som brukligt är på kennel Thorsvi, till grund för valparnas namn. Tidigare har det varit skotska malt whisky destillerier (med två undantag: Single Malt och Mackmyra), men denna gång ville vi vara lite ”roligare”. Eftersom både pappa Will och mamma Kiwi har ordet Black (Blackbill resp Blackwood) i sina namn så tänkte vi att valparna får heta detta också, men med whiskyanknytning förstås.
Det visade sig finnas många att välja på! Black i whiskysammanhang innebär oftast att den är rökig eller sherrylagrad.

Black Grouse är kusin till den mer välkända Famous Grouse, tillverkad för att passa den svenska smaken (rök!). I Systemets normalsortiment (finns också på burk blandad med koffeinfri Cola!).
Tillverkas på destilleriet Glenturret utanför Crieff, några mil från Perth.

Pale Gold in colour. As the bottle label does it's best to explain, this is meant to be a marriage of peated malt with the Famous Grouse blend, so naturally I was expecting a strong statement of smoke and peat. Not so. The smoke and peat is definitely there, however it is more than accommodating to the brown sugar accompanying it. A compelling balance.
Incredibly smooth and light, once again not forcing the issue with the peat and the smoke. The brown sugar on the nose has become dark chocolate on the tongue, and it mingles beautifully with the spice. Makes me think of a bar of dark chocolate with chilli that someone once gave me. I wasn't a fan of it at the time, but on tasting this I may have to try that chocolate again. Intriguing stuff.
A very gradual fade down of the cocoa, and a fade up of the spice and oak. So subtle and unexpectedly elegant.

The Black Grouse is continuing its award-winning run after receiving a gold medal at the International Spirits Challenge (ISC) 2010.
Now in its 15th year, the ISC leads the way in tasting and promoting outstanding quality spirits from around the world. Each year, spirits are tasted and rigorously judged by the industry's leading international experts, and despite the current economic climate, the competition reported a higher number of entries across the board this year.
The Black Grouse whisky is designed to attract blended Scotch drinkers who are looking for a dram with a more challenging taste. It subtly marries the smoothness of The Famous Grouse with the rich smokiness of peated malts.
Gerry O’Donnell, Director for The Famous Grouse, said: “We’re delighted with how well The Black Grouse has been received since we launched this new blend in 2007. We are seeing a trend towards more challenging whiskies and flavours and we feel The Black Grouse delivers this on all levels. It gives drinkers keen to embrace a richer, peated whisky the opportunity to try this from a trusted premium brand.”
Since its launch in Sweden in 2007 The Black Grouse has received a number of awards including taking Gold (Best in Class) at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in 2009 and Gold for Best Scotch Whisky Blend at the 2009 Scottish Whisky Masters. In his 2008 Whisky Bible’, Jim Murray hailed it as “a real treasure – the best new blended scotch whisky” awarding it a total score of 94/100.

Black grouse whisky to raise RSPB money
Toasts with a new type of whisky to the health of one of Britain's most iconic - and much declined - birds will now have a practical benefit.
Every bottle of Black Grouse bought from Sainsbury stores during June to December, after which it goes on general release, will mean another 50p for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
It will go specifically towards conservation work that needs to be carried out to improve habitat for the species after which the new brand is named on 85,000 acres of land in Scotland, England and Wales.
Black grouse numbers have dwindled from tens of thousands to just a few thousand since the 1970s and the aim is to reverse the trend by providing better conditions to bring about improved breeding success and winter survival rates.
The species is famous for its spectacular early spring courtship rituals at special sites known as leks. Males - known as blackcocks - with wings and lyre-shaped tails spread, charge at each other, like jousting medieval knights, to impress watching females (greyhens).
Gerry O'Donnell, director of The Famous Grouse said that with their original brand being named after Scotland's national gamebird, it was only fitting that they should now be "paying homage" to a unique related species that needs help.
"As an organisation that already supports a number of good causes and is very proud of its Scottish outdoor roots, we felt this provided a great opportunity to further conservation work while enjoying a great dram."
RSPB Scotland director Stuart Housden, said: "Unless urgent conservation programmes are put in place, this bird and its remarkable natural behaviour could disappear forever from our shores.
"We are absolutely delighted that The Famous Grouse has chosen to support black grouse conservation by funding our work for protection, creation and restoration of the special natural habitats on which they depend.
"This commitment will ensure that this spectacular bird, with its remarkable mating behaviour, will continue to enthral people and contribute to the rich natural history of the UK for many years to come."
Funds raised from Black Grouse whisky sales will be invested in native tree planting and woodland creation, the removal of non-native trees and the restoration of boggy areas in order to create the mosaic of natural and diverse forest-edge habitat that most suits the species.
As well as being hit by the loss of this type of habitat diversity, birds crashing into the wire mesh of deer fence around plantations and predation of eggs and young by crows and foxes are thought to be further reasons for the population decline.


Jörgen & Anita Norrblom

Webbans Illustrationer 2005