Whisky Magazine Issue 14
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A thrill ran through the press shortly before Christmas, summed up by The Scotsman's headline: "Cheaper Whisky As Good As Fine Malts Say Experts" and inspired by a Which? report which had completed a tasting of 32 Scotch and Irish whiskies from supermarkets.
The tasting was of 16 malts and 16 blends: 20 of the whiskies were supermarket own-label brands (six single malts, three vatted malts, eight blends and three Irish – one a single malt) and 12 were proprietary brands (six single malts, six blends). The overall winner was Highland Park 12-year-old. Of the next six, four were Islays (all vatted malts, all own-label there were no proprietary branded Islays in the competition). The other two were Glenmorangie 10-year-old and The Glenlivet 12-year-old. Bells 8-years-old was the top-ranked proprietary blend, in 8th position. The Macallan 10-year-old and Glenfiddich 12-year-old were ranked equal at number ten. The first ranked own-label blend was Tesco 8-year-old (ranked 19), the last ranked proprietary blends were Whyte & Mackay (26th) and Grant's (27th). What do we learn from all this? Simply, it is all a matter of personal taste.The success of malts against blends is apparent. But can they be compared directly? No. They are different drinks: blends are not designed to have the complexity of malts. As one might expect, the more expensive whiskies do better than the cheapies although, as the report gleefully points out, there are some "good buys".
It is interesting that the ...