In the early 2000s the Edrington Group has entered into partnership with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to help save one of the UK’s rarest birds, black grouse.
Famous Grouse the Black Grouse, a blend of the standard Famous Grouse with Islay malt, was introduced in 2007 and for every bottle sold in the UK the company donated 50 pence to the society. In September 2011 The Black Grouse was replaced with Alpha Edition, blended whisky with even higher content of Islay malt. The company spokesman compared the new expression to black grouse’s mating season, when “tom demonstrates flamboyance and machismo to establish himself as the alpha male”.
Nose: pleasantly smoky, honey, vanilla, caramel, coconut shavings, cinnamon, raisins, bitter orange marmalade and hints of oak shavings.
Palate: soft and smoky, sweet cereals, toffee, butterscotch, prunes, dried cranberries, orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg and touch of licorice.
Finish: medium long, with notes of peat smoke, pepper, nutmeg and hint of dried fruit.