Whisky Review – Asda Extra Special Islay Single Malt Whisky

Asda Extra Special Islay Single Malt Whisky

40% ABV

~£22.00 from Asda

  

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. 

Nose. 

It’s a stinky one (in a v good way). Twiglets. Barbecue beef ribs. Road tar. The smoke is partially medicinal, partially twiggy bonfire. Dry herbal sweets. Cough candy twists. Liquorice. A touch of bandage and hospital waiting rooms. Sour apples. Ozone. A little fishiness, some mackerel alongside the ribs on the BBQ. That’s quite an intensive Islay experience right there. 

Palate. 

Sweet, a touch watery in the arrival. Then earthy grass and moss in abundance. Peat reek and sweetness coming into the development. More grass and dry earth, straw, dry liquorice root, more indescribable herbal notes, cigarettes, a touch of tart citrus. Lip smacking. Now some jelly fruit sweeties are coming through. This is one that changes around quite a lot from sip to sip. Yes, more fruit now, apples, sweet citrus, sweet peat, pear drops. There’s an awful lot going on here. 

Finish. 

Medium length finish. Has lots of fizzy fruit refresher sweets. Peat. Wet green grass. A touch of oak. Dry liquorice. Those herbal sweets and cough candy twist are a nice leftover. 

Adding water. 

After a few drops of water added the nose has become more herbal, with heather flowers thrown onto the BBQ for good measure, there is also an added layer of dirt, making this very interesting indeed, extraordinarily complex. The palate is also got this extra herbal nature to it, also a touch more meatiness in the development. The finish is smokier. Breathing out after party sip is reminiscent of a good menthol cigarette. 

Conclusion. 

This is a fundamentally complex and beautifully constructed whisky. I’m really quite taken aback. There is a real massive peat moment here to be had a fraction of the cost of the peaty whiskies out there at the moment. I’m getting some more of this. 

Value for money. Without a shadow of a doubt. Bargain.

Would I buy more? No question. On my way to Asda now if I hadn’t had a few drams.

Which distillery? Well, I would guess at Laphroaig, but then this could be a Caol Ila at a different pleating level to the official bottlings. I’m not sure it’s worth a guess, there’s something very Bowmore about it as well…lets just say it’s definitely Islay! 

From my own stash of fascination. 

Whisky Review – Tesco Finest 12 year old Speyside Single Malt Whisky

Tesco Finest 12 year old Speyside Single Malt Whisky

40% ABV

~£25.00 from Tesco
  

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. 

Nose. 

Not as Speyside as I would expect (I tend to expect a more sherried style for Speyside), very highland in style. On first pour we have lots of apples, fresh and crisp, reminds me of cider orchards and the pressing of apples for the cider. There may even be a touch of matured cider and a hint of cider brandy in there. We have light vanilla and some pepper spice. After a few minutes in the glass I’m returning to just as many apples, but they are alongside a glass of citrus juice, lemons mainly, and a touch of grapefruit. Quite tarty now. Simple and pleasant. 

Palate. 

Slow arrival of tarty citrus and crisp, citric apples, a little vanilla, a touch of cinnamon, a little creaminess, gentle runny honey. The mouthfeel is very light and watery. Nothing really stands out or is particularly complex. It’s very ‘OK’. 

Finish. 

Short-medium length. Vanilla, some citric leftovers and a touch of oak. Warming in the throat more than the chest, but not overly hot or abrasive. It’s perfectly drinkable and ‘OK’

Adding water. 

Very small drop added, this will drown quicker than I would. The nose has become a lot more floral for that small drop of water, not so much apples, still a touch of citrus, but much more floral with some extra light honey. The palate is more honey, less fruit, quite a lot more fruit sour in the development. The finish seems a little harsher, shorter and less interesting. Leave the water in the bottle for this one. 

Conclusion. 

Ok, I could be sounding a little harsh, but the first supermarket malt review in this segment was pretty good. I mean, this is flavoursome and non offensive, and there is a lot of worse tasting stuff out there for more money. It just doesn’t stand out much or has a great deal of character about it. It’s perfectly drinkable, I wouldn’t want to mix it, it’s nicely, easy sip able, good session stuff probably, although you would desperately want something more tasty and challenging after a few drams. It’s good palate warming-up type stuff. But…saying that, it’s on the higher end of the price bracket for this range of supermarket malts…would I buy it again…no, sorry…what distillery do I think it is? Not a clue. It says Robert Paterson was involved in creating it on the back of the bottle, so maybe a Tamnavulin (only W&M distillery near Speyside I can find), but I haven’t tried much of that for a viewpoint. Happy to hear of any of your guesses. 

From my own stash of fascination. 

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. 

Nose. 

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. 

Palate. 

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. 

Finish. 

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. 

Conclusion. 

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.