Aldi Glen Marnoch Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Newspapers love a good story about an underdog whisky that is defeating the odds and beating some of the big distilling boys. It’s almost an annual event nowadays, which shows how many awards are dished out generally to whisky but also how competitive the sector truly is. Also you have to say that beating a Glenlivet – which seems the quoted example in the articles – isn’t too difficult given what that distillery is producing nowadays.

Here at Malt we’re spoilt by some very expensive, rare and memorable whiskies. It’s fortunate and at times costly environment, but I never overlook the entry end of the market where affordability and bang for your buck are key factors. After all, there’s nothing worse than purchasing a bottle of whisky that turns out to be a bit of a dud, regardless of the cost involved. Over the 7 plus years of the website we’ve spent a great deal of time and effort covering whiskies provided by the supermarket sector.

One of the most successful players in the supermarket genre is German chain Aldi when it comes to quality and affordability. Their range is known by the name Glen Marnoch and merely serves as a white label name to cover some of Scotland’s major whisky regions. We’ve reviewed the Islay and the Highland editions and the missing piece of the jigsaw is the Speyside bottling that we have here. There’s a great deal of interest around whisky in general whether it’s in the media or talking with strangers in pubs. You can also tell from the most popular articles on Whisky Rover that tend to be these supermarket releases including the odd limited edition from Aldi such as the Glen Marnoch Highland Single Malt Rum Cask Finish or their recent experimental Hogwash Blended Scotch Whisky.

These occupy the value spectrum of the market and are exclusive to the supermarkets that have requested a third party to come up with the recipe. For those new to whisky, these are single malts so they do not contain grain whisky that you will find in blended scotch releases, yet they are priced within this realm. A single malt is a whisky from a single distillery. As Speyside is Scotland’s most dynamic and populated region when it comes to whisky distilleries; there are numerous contenders. That’s part of the appeal of buying a white label product as you’re essentially buying with limited information.  You don’t know which distillery is responsible and whilst I may hazard a guess upon tasting, ultimately at this end of the market it doesn’t matter. A single malt at this price is a treat and one now made affordable and of sufficient quality.

For the record, this Speyside whisky received a gold medal from the Spirits Business Scotch Whisky Masters. I’m known for dissing some awards but the fact that the Spirits Business is a reliable source, utilises the opinions and scores of many well versed in whisky it therefore carries some validity. The fact that these whiskies were tasted blind is a positive. Nowadays, it’s all too easy to be swayed by a fancy label, famous name or marketing spin when dealing with a whisky. This award takes everything back to its essence; the whisky.


The fact that this Glen Marnoch matched and bettered some more notable whiskies during the judging does not come as a surprise. The quality of whisky produced across Scotland nowadays is of a consistent standard and blenders have an array of stock when producing a release. This being a single malt means it contains whisky from a solitary distillery and won’t be a specific single cask, rather a vatting of various casks and ages. It’s a No Age Statement release which fits in with the price point and lack of information generally about the origins. Whenever I’m faced with a single malt bottling it comes down to the price and the whisky experience. Far too many nowadays are overpriced and deliver very little except being an official bottling from a distillery and some fancy marketing spiel about a loch monster or an ancient witch.

Bottled at 40% and featuring artificial colouring, these are the staples of this price point and that’s the key thing. Folk shopping at this level don’t really care about the distillery, traditional methods and ultimately the packaging. At £17.49 it’s extremely affordable and now as an award winner it’s time for the ultimate test.

Aldi’s Glen Marnoch Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky Review

Colour: dried orange peel

Nose: a promising arrival of toffee and orange rind with vanilla pod. There’s apricot and walnuts with a touch of pepper and dark chocolate. Buttery almonds and dried raisins round off an engaging experience. The addition of water reveals apples and a wee bit of ginger.

Taste: a very light body and a touch watery in all honesty. There’s more orange notes and a shortbread aspect that moves more into oats towards the finish. A buttery caramel with marmalade and a perfume aspect before the oaty finale. Water revealed more toffee, a touch of lemon and icing sugar. 


There’s a good balance here between the spirit and cask. The end result is an easy drinking Speysider with a light inoffensive body and just enough character. For the price under £18 there’s nothing to complain about here and I’d happily reach for this compared to several famous Speyside distilleries that charge double the price.

Score: 7/10

CategoriesSingle Malt
  1. Hugh John Penny says:

    Have I got a bad bottle because I bought one on the basis of this review and it’s horrible – lots of nasty spirit nose and taste. I hope my wife can put it in a cake or mamrmalade or something, because I’m not drinking it!

    1. Jason says:

      That’s a shame Hugh. This review dates from 2017, so I wonder if the quality has slipped with later batches? Terrible if that’s the case, as this was a really solid dram when it first came out. Might be due a return piece and I may have some of the original batch to contrast and compared it to.

      1. roy Kernot says:

        I would not call myself a whisky connoisseur, although I do have a large collection of single malts which all offer different taste experiences.
        I have to say that the Glen Marnoch Single Malt, Speyside, gifted to me this Christmas is the most unpleasant of all Whiskies I have ever tasted.
        There is nothing subtle about any of the aromatic or tasting notes. It’s overall taste is one of smoky tar,
        the finish is far too sharp and very ‘cheap spirit’.
        This should have been blended as it is, in my opinion, nasty and undrinkable.
        I may ‘blend’ it in some coffee, or Coca Cola in the summer.

  2. paul william thomas says:

    Like Hugh i purchased a bottle based on several good reviews.At 72 years old this is the first bottle of whisky i have ever tipped down the sink.Strong medicinal taste,strong hints of TCP and slight petrol after taste.Disappointed ,to say the least.

    1. Jason says:

      Hi Paul, that’s a shame. The quality must have slipped on this one since we reviewed it 2 years ago now. Perhaps the classic industry trick of a good 1st batch or 2, then scaling back the quality to lower overheads. Hopefully, you’re next purchase delivers. Thanks, Jason.

      1. Robert Wallers says:

        January 2021
        My son-in-law presented me with a bottle of Aldi’s Glen Marnoch Speyside single malt whisky this Christmas and sadly I’m coming to the end of a sip or so every other evening of this ‘delightful dram’. I’ve always taken my malts, many of them over the years, with about two thirds water. Some have been great, some not so great and some merely medicinal ( particularly those overrated peaty monstrosities).This one, typically Speyside, simple, sweetish, generous and uncomplicated has been a treat to look forward to and one I’ll miss once it’s gone !!

  3. Tom says:

    I purchased a bottle the other day (Feb 2020) and I have found it to be a great whisky for the £17.50 paid.

    I’ve had many other supermarket offerings for sweet/sherried (non-smokey and/or non-peaty) whiskies (a well known one to drop in comparison would be Glenfiddich 15 year Solera) and found them to be completely on par, yet for £30 to £40 a bottle.

    Thus for the price of it, I find this offering from Aldi to be a very satisfying sip.

    1. Jason says:

      Hi Tom

      Glad this one is still good. There seems to be some batch variation on this range in general. The Speyside was the strongest of the bunch when I reviewed it a few years ago now.

      Cheers, Jason.

  4. John says:

    Got a bottle of Glen Marnoch for Father’s Day. The worst whisky I’ve ever tasted. I forced a couple of drams down but had to give up, sorry to say it’s the first time I’ve had to pour it down the drain.

    1. Jason says:

      Hi John

      Shame the 2020 batch hasn’t delivered. It is only my ‘to do’ list and get around some of the more recent versions of these supermarket releases, as I appreciate things can improve and also become worse.

      Cheers, Jason.

  5. Bob says:

    12 mths ago it was one of the best single malts I had tasted for the price. Looked forward it getting it again, which I finally did a month ago. Definately not the same whisky as 12 months earlier, as absolutely no similarity to the previous batch. This latest batch is horrible.

  6. Dave says:

    You don’t think those negative comments are genuine do you? I’ll bet they are from the big drinks distributers worried about their profits being threatened by the likes of Aldi and Lidl, who are offering good quality malt whiskies at a reasonable price; affordable to those on modest incomes. I’m on my third bottle of Glen Marnoch, which is just as lovely as the first bottle I bought two years ago. Jason, I’m glad you’re not subscribing to the mantra that ‘the more you pay, the better it must be’. Keep up the good work.

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