Supermarkets, and especially budget supermarkets, may not be your first port of call for a quality Scotch, but with Lidl’s Glen Alba range, that may just change.
Brought out in 2015 alongside two Ben Bracken expressions, the range includes a 22 Year Old, a 25 Year Old and a 34 Year Old that this year received an incredible 95.5 out of 100 points in Jim Murray’s 2017 Whisky Bible.
This is not the first time a supermarket has brought out its own range of Whisky; you can even buy Tesco Value Scotch.
What makes Lidl’s Scotch different however, is the fact that it’s actually pretty damn impressive.
The company have already won two Gold awards and six Silver awards in the Scotch Whisky Category at the International Spirits Challenge.
Perhaps the most compelling part of the Lidl range is that it is not expensive, and varies in price from around £30 upwards.
The Glen Alba 34 Year Old, the oldest of the malts, retails at £44.99, is the perfect example of why Lidl have done so well in the Scotch category.
This expression has been matured in sherry casks and was first distilled in 1981.
It is brimming with flavours and opens with a nose of sweet and spice. It is the ideal Christmas dram, with lots of warming aromas, like cinnamon and apple pie, and a delicate hint of gingerbread.
The spices are easy going and perfect for sipping round an open fire.
They combine well with the various fruits that also make an appearance, including fresh cooking apples and citrus fruits.
There is an orange tang that goes excellently with the cinnamon spice. This develops into a sweeter marmalade flavour that is combined with chewy fudge and dark chocolate.
These sweeter flavours give a nice backdrop for the spices to play off.
On the palate, this dram is incredibly smooth, as one would expect after 34 years. It goes down easy and is full of flavour.
The sweet marmalade and dark chocolate come together well on the palate and are joined with similar flavours, such as bitter coffee and liquorice.
There is also a distinctly almond flavour that ties in well. It becomes more like marzipan in texture and taste as the dram continues, bringing together the sweet chocolate and fruit flavours as it goes.
This is brings in oak wood as well, with a slightly vanilla and cinnamon edge to it. This grows and deepens into a maple syrup flavour that coats the chocolate and wood and combines them all in harmony.
The finish continues along the sweet note, with one final kick of cinnamon to tie it altogether.
This Glen Alba is a dram definitely worth enjoying in front of a nice log fire on a cold winters night.