Whisky Review – Glen Marnoch 1988 (@aldiuk)

Glen Marnoch 1988

40% ABV

£49.99 from Aldi (Christmas special release)

Nose.

Quite a rich baked apple nose on first pour. Some cinnamon and sugar crusting. Some ginger and spice. A little dusty in the aromas, along with some floral perfume notes. A bit of time and the fruit gets a little more complex, with some added citrus and ripe orange. After 30 minutes in the glass the nose becomes a little spicier and more honey and vanilla led with the fruit taking a back step. This gives more of a balance between fruit and oak, and there’s some added oak spice, with a hint of pencil shavings. More time and more rich vanilla comes to the front, its a developmental nose, evolving with continued exposure to air.

Palate.

Very fruity, lots of fresh apples and a touch of orange. Spicy as well, but not abrasive, some gentle ginger and cinnamon sugared custard. Sweet all the way through arrival and development, possibly too sweet for some, but suits my palate well. Makes things very moreish and quaffable. The only criticism would be the light mouthfeel which is evident from the minimal 40% ABV and obvious chill filtration. Saying that its still a suitably chewable dram with a nice fruit and spice balance. With lots of time the fruit becomes a little more tropical, some mango coming into play. Very tasty.

Finish.

Medium length. Spicy oak initially fades back to some fresh fruit and dry ginger. Hints of vanilla custard at the very end.

Adding water.

I really don’t want to add water, but…a drop in the last 5ml of my dram. The nose is a lot lighter, more floral and oak, lost a fair amount of fruit and spice. The palate, whilst still quite fruity has lost some oomph, and gained more vanilla custard, still good but not as good. Water/ice at this drams peril. Keep it neat. (My opinion).

Conclusion.

It’s not half bad. Fruity bourbon based maturation, probably all refill. There’s nothing wrong with this whisky, and despite the price increase of Aldi’s Christmas special (year on year price increase – ok this is technically, maybe a year older) its still exhibiting great value for money. I don’t think this whisky shows the 29/30 years as other more expensive (you cant get a 1988 single malt for less than £132 on master of malt, that one being a Tormore. Who knows, maybe this is a Tormore??) whisky would. It’s worth the punt if you want a fruity, easy, solid drinker of a whisky.

Whisky Review – White Walker by Johnnie Walker / @Johnniewalker_

White Walker by Johnnie Walker
41.7% ABV
£33.95 from The Whisky Exchange

Nose.

Grainy, young and a touch acrid. There’s hints of vanilla, a little bitter oak, not a lot going on initially. It’s very closed. Might warm it up a bit (for reference I didn’t have this in the freezer like the serving suggestion). A lot of warmth and a little white fruits come out, touch of peach, apricot maybe. It’s very grainy though, lots of corn, popcorn, hints of creamy vanilla.

Palate.

Ok, so warmed up it actually works better on the palate, quite sweet, more white fruits, peach, honeydew melon, hint of orange juice, lots of creamed corn, vanilla ice cream, some rough spices, ginger, cardamon. Definitely has more going for the palate than the nose.

Finish.

Short, sweetness turns bitter, like chewing an old pencil with some popcorn.

Adding water.

Just a drop added. Nose is now muted. Bit vodka like with some oak. Palate is weakened and more sugar and vanilla now, the bitterness of the finish coming in sooner. Don’t dilute. Or if you do do it with something flavoured. Works nicely with orange juice actually. 😜

Frozen.

Ok, so as they suggested it I did it, and as I expected it’s not worth talking about. Everything is closed up. Couldn’t smell much at all, bit of vanilla and alcohol that’s it. The palate was thick in the mouthfeel (it would be), but numb in the taste. Nah, hit it with OJ and quaffed happily.

Conclusion.

Ok, let’s be honest, this isn’t a half-experienced whisky drinkers whisky. There are much better blends and single malts at the same price or less that are much superior to this. But as a marketing exercise it’s clever. I got it as I’m a curious whisky drinking Game of Thrones fan, remove the whisky experience and I would be happy. But with whisky drinking experience it takes more to please, and this one isn’t for my palate. Now in a cocktail it works fine, and that’s what this whisky is hitting towards. Freeze me, mix me. For that approach is does the job. If you’re expecting a great blend then just reach for Black or Green Label instead. Same price or much less and much more rewarding.

My own bottle.