Glen Marnoch 28 Year Old (Aldi)

With Christmas looming, Aldi have a big range of tempting wines & spirits.
Although their Islay Single Malt is a bargain at £18, I was very interested to see a 28 year old Speyside single malt for £39.99.

Now, I know it’s hard to use the word “bargain” next to a £40 bottle of own-brand Aldi whisky, but if there was a famous name attached to specifications like that you’d be paying over £100.

I was in Llandrindod Wells at the weekend, saw this, and I took the plunge.
Is it worth £40? Is it worth £100? Let’s see …

First impressions are very positive.
The whisky is a deep, attractive colour and the bottle is stylish with a handsome silver-on-black label.
The wooden box is a little silly, but my cat enjoyed fighting with it.
01-glen-daisyI suspect a lot of these bottles are going to be given as presents, and I think there’d be many who’d be happy to be in this position come Christmas morning:
04-happy-manThe dark shades of the spirit imply those 28 years have been spent in some flavourful casks
02-bottle-glassand my initial sniffs made me think of sherry casks, possibly pedro ximinez ones, as there is a strong aroma of fruit.
(And check out my Glencairn tasting glass. Only a fiver, and I promise it makes your whisky taste better than in a normal tumbler.)

My reaction after the first taste was a loud “Christ! That’s complex!”
07-tasting-glen-marnoch-28Suddenly my mouth was full of fruit cake, maybe with a touch of peel and nuts.
Massive. And it stays there, giving a long, pleasant finish.

For the second glass I opened some Aldi Salted Caramel Chocolate Truffles (and these are a definite bargain at £2!).
I don’t want to irk the purists, but these two Aldi siblings got along famously.
03-glen-marnoch-28-trufflesTry to imagine a fruit cake, laced with whisky, and topped with salted caramel and chocolate.
I was nearly in tears. How would you make such a cake? I don’t know, but I was briefly able to taste such a thing.
I became quite emotional, and it was decided for me that I’d had enough.
But it’s that sort of drink. It’s a drink to make you remember life is good, and you’re the one who decides what tasty treats go together.
You’ll enjoy it with some quality mince pies, for sure.
“Glen Marnoch” is Aldi’s generic own-brand name for whisky, and there has been much speculation about what this is.
Descriptions of Glenfarclas 25 sound similar, the bottles are a similar shape, and the 43% ABV is the same. The main dis-similarity is that Glenfarclas costs £120.
Some people wonder if it’s a Mortlach, but they’re a premium brand costing £200+ for this kind of age statement. Surely not?

I’m certainly not qualified to become a whisky detective, but I can tell you this bottle is well worth a punt.
I have always preferred the big smoky, peaty flavours of Islay, finding Speyside a little bland.
This single malt, with its decades soaking up all that sherry goodness, has changed my mind.

I can’t afford to have it as my everyday whisky, but I’ll definitely be getting another to stash away for early next year.

**Update 27/12/16**

Well, the Glen Marnoch is nearly gone, and I’ve greatly enjoyed it.
The speed with which it sold out was disappointing, but I’m glad I got some.
I did try Lidl’s 25 year old Glenalba up against it.
The Glenalba is close, but not quite there.
They look very similar, but in the end it tastes noticeably like a blend, unlike the more characterful Glen Marnoch.
It has the advantage of better availability (though not in Aberystwyth) and hilarious tasting notes (“seductive wave of scents”).
If it re-appears next year, I’m having two, although Amazon’s special offers on well-known blends have been astonishing this year.



6 thoughts on “Glen Marnoch 28 Year Old (Aldi)”

  1. Nice review. I’ve just got back from my local Aldi with a bottle!
    Going to have a taste at the weekend in my tasting glass.
    Best wishes.

    1. You lucky thing, Rob.
      I’ve just sent Bethan to Caerphilly & Upper Boat in South Wales – and they’re both sold out.
      They love their well-priced whiskies down there!

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