I really like it when companies have the courage to step outside of their comfortable little boxes and do something new; I have even more respect for them when that involves a move away from an existing brand. The latter part may stem from my marketing experience and appreciation of how difficult brand creation is, so take my word for it when I say that it’s not all fun and games (though a lot of the time at least some of it is).
It is therefore a pleasure to be amongst the first in the world to share with you, dear reader, the creation of an exceedingly novel and highly exclusive new offering from a very well-known brand indeed: The Famous Grouse. I’ve known that this whisky was in the making for a wee while now but sworn to secrecy – as a matter of fact, and you probably won’t believe this, I had to go through a complete background check, which included TFG representatives interviewing my employer (past and present) and partner. That may sound over the top, but the whisky industry is highly competitive, and trade secrets are guarded closely.
I’m finally at liberty to reveal to you their latest product, however! Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce The Famous Goose. At first glance, sniff and tongue-dip it is quite similar to The Famous Grouse (I’m sorry in advance for this, I tried to stop myself – but you might say they are two birds of a feather): the nose is still fruity with a fair old bit of apple and citrus, accompanied by distant smell of spice. As you put it to your lips, the first few drops to land on your tongue smack of vanilla and toffee, which are quickly joined by a team of other flavors, including fresh citrus, spice, and a fleeting whiff of smoke. It differs from The Famous Grouse mainly in that the flavors are deeper and heavier, a very good thing in my book.
What is truly interesting about this whisky, however, is the way it is made. The casks in which it matures are made from first-fill Canadian Maplewood barrels, which are only ever made in the early autumn. The reason for this is that the wood is at its most pliable as temperatures begin to drop after summer, a fact that was only discovered a few years back. In fact, this is the very first whisky to use Canadian maple barrels, but based on the result I suspect we will be seeing a lot more of it in the future. That’s not all, though. The second thing that makes the production process interesting is that the unique qualities of the wood makes a new practice possible: overfilling the casks. Once you’ve filled a normal oak cask up, that’s the end of the story – until some of it evaporates, you can’t fit any more in. With Canadian maple wood casks, however, it’s possible to exceed the maximum capacity of the barrel by up to 15% through a process known as “force filling”. This a fairly straight-forward process whereby a pneumatic pump is used to over-fill the cask. The result is a richer, oiler whisky.
That, dear reader, is all I can tell you about the Famous Goose at this point.
Color: Brownish-gold with an unusual gray tint.
Nose: fruity, apple, citrus, spice.
Taste: Heavier than the grouse, vanilla, toffee, citrus, spice, whiff of smoke.