Whisky Review – Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Highland Single Malt

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Highland Single Malt

40% ABV

~£20.00 from Sainsbury’s
I’m setting myself a mission on the run up to Christmas to try some of the mid range supermarket own brand whiskies and write reviews for them. There aren’t enough reviews out there of these whiskies, and they are often overlooked because of the supermarket name on the label. Time to see if they should be ignored of if this is a falsehood and your missing out on a particular taste sensation or superbargain. 


This is a really spicy intense fruity nose. Oranges (juice and peel) are first to come forward and mild milk chocolate. Sherry influences are then strong, with Christmas spices, mince pie filling, plump raisins and fruit cake. There is a light charred oak amongst the nose with added pepper. Bloody good start, more like a speysider than a highland malt, but technically whisky labelled highland could be speyside. While this is a non aged statement whisky it doesn’t feel like it. 


Sweet, gentile arrival. Fruitcake, orange juice, light raisin. Cinnamon spices and a touch of clove. The development goes into more of the same really, a slightly thicker (than expected for 40%) oiliness to the mouthfeel, a little more spices and oaky tannins, a little bitter orange and dryness coming in with some almond nuttiness. 


Medium length. Dry fruitcake remains, some sherry influence, cinnamon powder. Fruit juices. A little orange peel aftermath peters out at the very end. 

Adding water. 

Small drop added to a single measure, as I think too much would kill this. The nose has slightly more spiced orange going on, with the spices really getting up the nose, the drop of water releasing a wealth of aroma with added intensity. There is more complex spices/fruit/chocolate balance which is enticing, along with a newly found floral back note. The palate has lost some of the oiliness and is now more concentrated on the spices and less on the fruit juice, there is added nuttiness in the development. The finish is quite weakened and much shorter, but still has a nice level of spices, fruit and nuts. Quite lovely stuff we have here. I must admit, as usual with 40%ers, I would have loved to have tried this at 46% non-chill filtered, I reckon it would be a complete belter. 


Ok, so…if you compare this to the likes of the older aged whiskies of this world and some of the more expensive single malts out there, it’s going to fall a little flat. But in fairness, this does match up to some of the younger (10-12) aged statement whiskies very very well indeed. It’s a beautifully easy drinker, straight sipper (I wouldn’t mix anything with this), tasting session starter, palate resetter. All of those things and probably a little bit more…because, when you take into account its 20 quid it becomes something extraordinary. Personally I think this is a frickin bargain. This will “evaporate” very quickly and another bottle(s) will be purchased. A great start to the supermarket malt journey. As to what distillery this comes from. Well, I have no factual ideal, but this does remind me a lot of the Dalmore camp of whiskies.

From my own stash of fascination.