Whisky Review – Glen Marnoch Bourbon Reserve – Aldi

Glen Marnoch Bourbon Reserve – Aldi

Bourbon finish (!!!!!)
40% ABV
£17.99 from Aldi in store only

Bourbon finish….bourbon finish…what the hell does that mean? Well, technically it means the whisky has been finished in bourbon barrels. The trouble is I’ve never seen this as a selling feature in any Whisky ever before…ever. As the rule of thumb (or general Whisky maturation techniques, I’m talking generally before anyone picks me up on anything) is that Whisky is matured in ex-bourbon or ex-sherry wood for a number of years. I have seen where Whisky has been finished in sherry wood, but never in bourbon before, this is due to bourbon oak being far more available than sherry oak, and therefore the default maturation is for ex-bourbon wood to be used. Anyway!

So, if anyone from the land of Aldi does read this and would like to divulge some more information to this Whisky anorak, and therefore to many more Whisky anorak’s, we would love to know more about this whisky’s maturation! Has it been finished in first fill as the refill maturation was lackluster? Was it originally sherry/something else more exotic, and then transferred to bourbon to finish? Which/what/where/when? Or is it just a bit of a marketing ploy? (Just an opinion!) 🙂


Very spicy. Pepper, clove, all spice dominates. Could it be sherry wood? Maybe, don’t know. It’s not as fruity as I would like for sherry. Burnt caramel. A little vanilla. Quite burnt wood, possibly heavily charred casks used here. With a little time in the glass the spice recedes and there is a little dark fruit thing going on, kind of like overcooked (but not quite burnt yet) jam. Raisin. A few red berries. Some vanilla sponge cake. It’s not a bad nose at all, in fact it’s rather pleasant


Light mouthfeel, obviously watered down to 40% takes quite a bit away. Some sweet and sour. The burnt oak, fruit and jam makes it to the palate. Light vanilla, burnt matchsticks. There is a bitterness to the mid development, but then more fruit comes through with those toasted berries making an appearance.


Medium, light, some of the fruit lingers, the char smoke very much lingers, then turns bitter with oak tannins, and a little wet sawdust. Slight fustiness maybe.

Adding water.

Added a small amount. The nose is now mor concentrated on the vanilla sponge elements, now the spiciness has subsided. The palate is juicier, more vanilla, a little fruit, and with the burnt elements really toned down. The finish has the fruit, vanilla and cream, with less of the burnt and bitter edges. This dram needs a drop of water to help it out. Maybe even an ice cube in a big dram! I don’t normally say such sacrilegious things. Lol


For the price, this is good stuff, but it needs the water dilution. Without it it does have some edginess which makes it harder to take. I’ve done a very brief side by side with the 18 and 24 year old versions, it’s clear to smell and taste it’s the same malt, but this one is a lot younger with those ‘features’ which the aged variants done have. If I were to recommend one of the 3 it’s still the 18 year old as far as bang for buck is concerned. If you can find the 24 discounted (recently heard it being purchased for £29.99 – bargain!) then don’t hesitate.


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