You know the Famous Grouse? Now imagine it without feathers. Boom, Naked Grouse!
Kidding aside… Edrington, which operates The Macallan, Highland Park, The Glenrothes, Cutty Sark, and Famous Grouse brands — among many others — recently launched this spinoff of the Grouse line. Naked Grouse is a blended malt finished in first-fill oloroso sherry casks. It’s known as “naked” not just because of the lack of a label on the bottle, but because the casks have never before been used for whisky. As a blended malt, it is composed of a blend of single malts (including The Macallan, Highland Park, Glenturret, and Glenrothes), with no grain whisky added. The sherry finishing — which occurs after primary aging of the single malts — is for a period of at least 6 months.
Let’s give it a try.
Fresh cereal on the nose dominates the whisky’s aromatic profile, though it’s undercut by a significant nuttiness that is driven by the sherry finishing. The palate shows the sherry impact in significantly more of its glory, the sharp citrus note hitting the palate immediately, backed by sweet notes of spun sugar and ample spice. It’s engaging, but the whisky’s youth hardly hangs out in the background unseen, as those cereal notes poke their head quite a bit, giving the experience a somewhat rustic feel — perhaps naked, one might say. While Naked Grouse isn’t initially an entirely complicated whisky, it does save its greatest tricks for the finish, where ample citrus combines with notes of leather and cloves to elevate the experience into something else entirely.
Not a bad price tag, either.
Update: Now known as “Naked Malt.”