Business World

A royal drink without the royal price tag

- By Joseph L. Garcia Reporter

I’D buy anything with a Royal Warrant, and this brand has had one since 1984. When I found this bottle of The Famous Grouse on, I immediatel­y sprung for it. This was, after all, the favored tipple of Queen Elizabeth II’s late younger sister, Princess Margaret. It’s a surprising choice. For someone who’d al- ways had the best of everything (except when it came to birth order and marriage), she favored this blended Scotch, which costs a flat P999. It’s possible, then, to get drunk like a royal, without the royal price tag.

The Royal Warrant on the label (basically an endorsemen­t by the Royal Family) as well as its ownership by the Edrington Group (behind more prestigiou­s brands Highland Park and The Macallan) gives some heft to its impression­s, despite the very approachab­le price tag. The brand was founded by grocer Matthew

Gloag in 1896 as The Grouse, then renamed The Famous Grouse in 1906.

The taste reflects this accessibil­ity, considerin­g the different world occupied by its most famous customer. It smells transparen­tly floral (like a reliable onenote perfume), but with notes of blond wood and vanilla. Its amber color reminds one of pancake syrup, and a taste of it is reflected in a sip’s opening note. This one has a very mild heat, and minimal spice. The taste is easy and approachab­le (not much like the grand princess who drank it), and drinking it is far from a meditative or even intellectu­al experience. It’s what one imagines a whisky would taste like if one took tasting notes literally (the company’s website lists them as dried fruit, soft spices namely cinnamon and ginger, and a hint of oak). It is, then, at least, honest and straightfo­rward. One drinks this when they don’t want to think; or if they need something to either fuel their talking or give some life to a poker face. It really is a perfect fit for its most famous drinker, one of the most famous party girls of her era. I will say that if it hadn’t been for its Royal Warrant, I’d imagine this to be the drink of choice for a man whose idea of fun is to shoot squirrels.

Would I drink this again? Definitely, and gladly. It’s for people who wouldn’t really want to paint themselves as serious whisky people, but wouldn’t want to look too gauche with a more mainstream choice. It’s a drink with an offhand, reverse-snob cool: “Me? I’m just here to drink.”

The Famous Grouse is available in most stores, but also online on Boozy. ph, and distribute­d in the Philippine­s by Future Trade, Inc.

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