Posts Tagged With: Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Tasting Notes – Aldi’s Glen Marnoch Range

The Glen Marnochs

The Glen Marnoch Range

First, let me get the disclaimer out of the way. This is Aldi’s own single malt range, Glen Marnoch. Yes, Aldi. As in the German discount supermarket. Let’s not go looking for lost lochs, misty Cairngorms or enchanted islands where there (may) be none. So, this review isn’t about finding your new desert island dram, or adding to your whisky pantheon, it’s about seeing what bang you can get get for your hard earned buck–and whether Aldi deserves any of it. The Glen Marnoch expressions retail at £17.49 a pop. Here at WU, we’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to and assembled all three Glen Marnoch entry-level malts: Speyside, Highland and Islay.

 

First up, a trip to Speyside.

Nose: Quite delicate for cheap–sorry inexpensive– whisky. Mainly barley. Hint o’ spice. A subtle butterscotch undertone sneaks up on you. Upon reflection, there’s marmalade too.

Taste: The Speyside soul doesn’t mess about here, with a dominant sherry coming on strong. And with it, raisins, vanilla and marzipan.

Finish: Very shallow as might be expected but not unpleasant. It warms nicely enough, leaving a spicy trail along with that marmalade that is fairly consistent throughout the whole experience.

For the sake of comparison, I’d give it a score of 6.5/10

 

Next, come with me to the Highland, laddie.

Nose: Quite captivating, actually. Earthy with a gentle smokiness. Wood and winter spices in there, nutmeg and the like.

Taste: Very woody. Perhaps a tad disappointing after that promising nose. There’s a sweetness–dare I say caramel–in here that is not unpleasant but does feel rather injected. A drop of water does reveal some fruitiness.

Finish: A little deeper than its Speyside cousin. Said sweetness mingles with a light smokiness–maybe a few sprigs of peat chucked in. That drop of water has helped it along to balance the wood, fruit and embers.

Score: 6.5/10

 

Finally, journey to Islay with me.

Nose: Jumps and punches you in the nose, this one does! Briny, peaty, a whiff of petrol and iodine. Yes ma’am, we have essence of Laphroaig!

Taste: A campfire in your mouth–think scouts’ rather than Bear Grylls, but it’ll do. That’s balanced by vanilla and sweetness in here too, like a proper Islay, don’t you know.

Finish: Was willing this to success and a plume of smoke does develop to warm your cockles, still satisfying, but it’s nothing more than that.

Score: 7/10

 

There you have it, three very serviceable whiskies. The Islay is the pick of the bunch for me, cruising way above its sub £20 weight. Never mind if it’s watered down Laphroaig (just a guess), I’d drink this any day.

The Speyside and Highland scored the same but for different reasons. The Speyside is the more consistent of the two. The Highland promised so much after that nose but remains a bit flat after that.

Considering you can snag all three for the price of a Lagavulin 16, the Glen Marnoch range presents excellent value. Whether or not you trade all three for a Lagavulin 16 is another matter. Still, kudos to Aldi for offering some good quality whisky at fair prices. Regular whisky drinkers will appreciate them any day of the week. I’d like to think the novice out there might take a punt on these and they’re good enough to kickstart a voyage of whisky discovery towards those lost lochs, misty Cairngorms and enchanted islands.

S

Advertisements
Categories: Glen Marnoch, Tasting Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tasting Notes: Benromach – Chateau Cissac

Benromach – Chateau Cissac

Speyside’s Benromach have been rapidly expanding their range of whiskies available in recent years, with a solid core range and then seasonal additional releases. One area that has particularly piqued whisky enthusiasts’ interests is their experimentation with different cask influences via their “Wood Finish” series within the “Contrasts” range – see notes on their Triple Distilled release here. This limited new release has been initially matured in ex-bourbon casks and “is finished for 25 months in hand-selected casks from the illustrious Château Cissac within the Appellation Haut-Médoc Contrôlée in South-western France” (to use their own words).

45%ABV

 

Nose

M; Bonfire smoke straight away. A lovely dry smoke & then followed by red fruits – the other way round to a usual smoky dram, when the smoke usually comes last. The smoke reminded me of that smoke you get in German smoked sausages or smoked cheese or any of the Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier range (but in whisky form, obviously).

 

Taste

M: It is smoke and fruit in equal parts upfront. Blood orange and oaked red wine.  The toasty smoke intensifies with the booze on the way down.

 

Finish

M: The red berries fade and the smoke peters out and leaves a drying red wine kind of finish.

 

Verdict

M: The more I’ve tried whiskies that have been stored in old red wine barrels, the more I’ve liked them and this is no exception. This is a really rich and fruity whisky that has been coupled with Benromach’s signature smoke, which seems to be more intense in this whisky than in others of theirs, which I guess must have been amplified by the wine casks. There were a lot of flavours at play here and this is definitely one for savouring over time, and definitely fits our current seasonal move into autumn. Sold by the spiel, I may also have to try and find some of the wine itself, but for now, I’ll stick to the whisky.

Benromach Tweet Tasting


PS Many thanks, as ever, to Steve Rush and Benromach for the @TweetTastings via @TheWhiskyWire for the samples and spreading the joy.

Categories: Benromach, Tasting Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tasting Notes: Benromach – Triple Distilled

Benromach – Triple Distilled

Speyside’s Benromach have released some of my favourite whiskies of late. Their Organic release and their now flagship 10yo display a great balance of fruit, oak and smoke. When I had read that they were releasing a triple distilled edition, it left me wondering how the third distillation would affect the flavours and profile of their whisky, so I was thrilled to take part in the The Whisky Wire’s Tweet Tasting. The Triple Distilled release sits within Benromach’s “Contrasts” series of releases, which all see have been produced with a distinctive difference to at least one aspect of their standard whisky creation (including the different “Wood Finish” releases – which I will come onto in a later post). The Benromach Triple Distilled, and is available now for £45 RRP.

50% ABV

 

Nose

Very pure/clean. Barley upfront. Soft fruity smells – apricot & papaya. Vanilla and oak. All of these initial smells remind me of Kellogg’s Just Right. After a bit of time there’s a ginger smell and delicate smoky back. Lots going on here.


Taste

Delicious vanilla custard tart at first and then BOOM the 50% ABV (which the nose was not giving away at all) hits you. A few more sips to acclimatise and those vanilla and fruit flavours return.


Finish

It’s a boozy one to begin with and the sweetness fades first and leaves a delicate, classic Benromach smoke.


Verdict 

Given that this whisky was bottled at 50% ABV and has been triple distilled, then I was expecting it to resemble the distillery’s 100 Proof release with a more Irish whiskey finish. In general, the fellow tweet tasters thought that the extra distillation might have removed some of the distinctive character  that Benromach display, but for me, I thought that they had largely remained in tact but where their smoke finish had been taken away slightly, it had been replaced with with a smoother, softer finish. The nose, taste and finish all carried the fruity flavours across, whilst the alcohol, oak and smoke all had to take their turn. The nose really didn’t really let on that the whisky was at a relatively high alcohol percentage, but it soon made itself known one taste and finish, and as the booze burned away some of the more delicate fruity flavours it did let the smoky flavours reveal themselves towards the end. I don’t want to get too wrapped up in it, and too many things these days have a “journey”, but this was a really enjoyable dram that took me on bit of a boozy ride with lots of aspects and places of interest along the way.

 

M

Categories: Benromach, Tasting Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.