Lidl! For the benefit of newer readers, I rather like the budget supermarket Lidl. Why? Because they are doing something that not many other places are doing. They’re producing rather decent whisky, many with big age statements, and they’re charging not much at all for them. In today’s prices, what they’re asking for whisky is simply silly (or maybe, they’re making everyone else look silly).
I’ve previously reviewed some Lidl whiskies, which were more standard offerings, and almost a year ago I reviewed Lidl’s Ben Bracken 28 Year Old, which was a solid, venerable single malt for £50. At the time of writing that last review, I was under the impression that the whiskies were very limited and would sell out. It turns out that you can still find bottles tucked away here and there, which is even more insane when you take into account just how popular they’ve been. And how do I know this? Well, basically from my website stats barometer: those last reviews have, at the time of writing, been read approximately 25,000 and 20,000 times respectively. Those are each just a bit more than my Haig Club review, which sees spikes in traffic whenever there’s a new global ad campaign and people rush to Google the whisky. So all I can take from that is that Lidl are creating a lot of interest whilst spending little on their marketing activities. Anyone would think that if you have genuinely good products at a very good prices, they speak for themselves. It’s called word of mouth, and it’s priceless.
With all that in mind, it’s time to look at their blended offering from last year’s releases, which are still, by all accounts, this year’s releases, and can still be found in the right Lidl store – once you navigate past the empty bits of packaging and long, long queues of irate shoppers. Today it’s the Glen Alba 34 Years Old. Which – and this needs stressing – is a 34 year old blended whisky, for £50. £50!
Glen Alba 34 Years Old Tasting Notes
On the nose: very strong sherry influences here, with tons of dried fruits: raisins, sultanas, prunes. Maple syrup. Dark chocolate. Cloves. Christmas cake, most certainly. Simple, and very much heaped down one end of the spectrum, but very bold and well defined. Blended for Christmas, one might say.
In the mouth: again we’re firmly in sherry territory, perhaps even rum. Oak tannins. Prunes. Elderberries. Maple syrup. Chocolatey again, leading into a nice liquorice note. Peppery. The texture is rather thin for a blend, and it lacks a certain mouth-watering quality that its other whiskies have produced. Tannins present themselves heavily on the finish.
As a blend it does work. Which is to say: don’t analyse it, just drink it, and it’s more rewarding. Perhaps lacks the full roundedness for me, as the flavours are bundled down the sweeter end of the spectrum without enough to balance it out. But let’s be honest – for £50 this is still great value. It’s worth the money and I’d happily recommend having this on the shelf, even for a talking point with friends. Again: well done Lidl.