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.
08-and-mince-pie
“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.


 

05-merry-xmas-glen-marnoch

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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