Wednesday 24 May 2017

Supermarket Mystery Reviews! A (sort of) Blind Tasting.

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I did something a bit different. My mate had bought some cheaper supermarket whiskies and organised a kind of blind tasting for me, just marking the whisky with a number. So, a blind tasting was in order! (Get it? I’ll go now…)

It wasn’t quite blind in that he had mentioned what he had bought and that these are all from UK supermarkets. I tried to completely ignore that and just assess the whiskies and give a guess at what they might be.
Reveal is down the bottom

Sample 1
Colour: Gold
Nose: Pretty classic Highland combo of fruit and distinct malt. Lots of red apple, some sweeter honey, younger fruit too- Green apple and lemon.
Taste: Spice first, some oak and tannins, earthy malt comes through with a nice black pepper notes. Guessing it’s 40-43%.
Finish: Medium length. A little harsh ginger and oak/malt spice.
Conclusion: 10-12yo, 40-43%, Highland or Speyside Single Malt. I would say it’s one of those Speysiders that tastes more like a Highlander. If I had to guess, it would be Speyside.

Sample 2
Colour: Gold, slightly darker than #1
Nose: Richer than #1, nail polish remover, which is a note I always get with grain whisky. Raisin, toffee, slightly rubbery Sherry. A Sherry finish maybe? Some chocolate.
Taste: Sweet, but light from the grain. Probably 70-80% grain whisky, so blended. That nail polish remover thing again, some chocolate and oak, chocolate orange.
Finish: Medium length. Slightly harsh, chewy tannins and chocolate.
Conclusion: Blended whisky, 40-43%, Sherry finish. Age is tricky, not too old or young. I know Lidl have a 22 and 25 Sherry finish and I know he could have bought them but it doesn’t seem that old. More like 15yo, which there aren’t many of. Maybe a 12yo supermarket blend then?

Sample 3
Colour: Gold, same as #1
Nose: Richer again, a lot of malt, Highland heather, honey, green apple, red apple.
Taste: Mellow, soft, malty, slightly earthy heather and honey, green apple, ginger and then some sappy oak.
Finish: Medium length. Malt, heather and that sappy oak.
Conclusion: 10-12yo, 40-43%, Highland single malt. Hmmmmmm, again that Speyside tasting like a Highlander thing going on here. Glenrothes-esque, but I do think it’s Highland.

Sample 4
Colour: Amber, much darker than the others.
Nose: Sherry all over it, older than the others with tobacco and dark chocolate, intense dark fruit, juicy date and prune, very rich but only 40%.
Taste: Soft, mellow, Sherry covering everything again, dried raisin and fig, then juicier fruit with dates and figs soaked in sweet cream Sherry, PX Sherry, musky vanilla. A loooooooong development.
Finish: Long length. Simple with 90% dark chocolate and tingling oak. Slightly rubbery.
Conclusion: Sherry hides it well, but this is blended at 30+ years old. So it’s the Lidl Glen Alba 34yo Sherry finish.

Sample 5
Colour: Gold, with a higher viscosity than the others.
Nose: Islay, which is a nice surprise! Very peaty and young, smoky malt, not ‘big’ though, so probably 40%, quite soft, slightly meaty? Definite salt.
Taste: Young estery green apple, then smoke comes in, sappy, peaty, malty, the sappy-ness is a little off and reminds me of Bunnahabhain.
Finish: Medium length. Peat, then some salt stays.
Conclusion: Very young, 5-8yo, on the nose I thought it could be Caol Ila but the taste is definite peated Bunna at 40%. So I’m thinking it’s the Aldi Glen Marnoch Islay Malt.

The Reveal!
Sample 1: Tesco Finest Speyside 12yo Single Malt @£13.95
Sample 2: Tesco Finest Highland 12yo Single Malt @£13.75
Sample 3: Lidl Ben Bracken Speyside 8yo Single malt @£9.99
Sample 4: Lidl Glen Alba 34yo Blended @£29.99
Sample 5: Aldi Glen Marnoch Islay Single malt @£17.49

Wow, well it’s always educational when you get stuff completely wrong! I was really off on sample 2 but it really did taste blended, I promise! The Ben Bracken 8yo from Lidl is an incredible bargain for a tenner, although I think all of these were bought on deals. I got the last two right though, so happy days!
What is amazing as well is that none of these are terrible or bad whiskies, all are decent.

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #366-#370
Whisky Network Reviews #412-#416

Network Average: 74.4
Best Score: 92
Worst Score: 44
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as a Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

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