Category Archives: Supermarket Whiskey

Lidl, Minimum Unit Pricing Of Alcohol & Queen Margot 3 Year Old Scotch, 40%

I’ve been taking an interest into how the lower price range of spirits have reacted to the Minimum Unit Pricing Of Alcohol – MUP.

Previously having featured blogs of both whiskey & rum for sub €20 – and really enjoying a few of them too – MUP wiped all that out to a standard €22.09 for 700ml at 40%.

Now there’s been stories of beer being brewed to a lower ABV to keep to a certain price point. This isn’t an option for spirits with legally enforced alcohol strengths.

Which leaves bottle sizes.

Lidl were ahead of the pack offering their tasty Liberté Rum, Captain Cook Spiced Rum & Rachmaninoff Vodka in 500ml versions to keep prices low.

Buying & consuming less alcohol is one of the stated aims of MUP. Lidl appear to be facilitating this.

Personally I’m all in favour of smaller bottles.

As a blogger I enjoy tasting far & wide. Smaller pack sizes allows a bigger variety for a smaller outlay.

Environmentally it’s a bit of a no no.

Smaller containers means more of them, more packaging, increased costs & ultimately – more waste.

Having said that – when Queen Margot 3yo Scotch appeared in 350ml for just over €11 – I thought I’d give it another spin!

I admire the no nonsense, utilitarian approach & unpretentiousness of this whisky.

There’s a caramel rich nose with a spirity sensation.

Smooth palate, quite rich with hints of warm woodiness.

Suggestions of tannic prickly spice on the rear slowly fading away.

Queen Margot is a perfectly presentable easy drinking dram of a whisky. No rough edges, the usual whisky flavours with an alcoholic warmth too.

If only more brands offered 350ml alternatives I’d probably be inclined to purchase them.

Would you agree?

Sláinte

All photos authors own.

Minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol in Ireland

MUP – Minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol became a ‘thing’ in Ireland on 4th January 2022.

Pegged at 10 cent per gram of alcohol it has effectively wiped out the sub €20 bottle of spirits I enjoyed reviewing.

Lidl & Aldi before MUP

Photographing the shelves of Lidl & Aldi beforehand – all stores have to comply – displays a range going from €14.49 for Samuel Joe’s & Western Gold Bourbon to €20 for Bushmills & Jameson Original.

Lidl & Aldi after MUP

Afterwards all these offerings are at the new minimum price of €22.09.

How the market for those previously sub €20 brands will fare out is hard to predict – I did however purchase a few before the price increase – as is the impact of MUP pricing in reducing the harmful effects of excess alcohol on Irish society.

One thing’s for certain though – The Time’s They Are A Changin’ 🎶

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Dundalgan Single Malt, Sherry Edition, 42%

I’d put off trying out the last of the attractively priced Dundalgan Whiskey range mainly as sherry cask finishes are not my top pick.

Sherry Edition Dundalgan c/othewhiskeynut

I found all the others; Blend, Charred Cask, IPA & Stout Edition Single Malts to be highly enjoyable & flavourful.

The Sherry Edition followed suit with a lovely depth of warmth.

An engaging bite to enliven the experience.

All wrapped up with a lovely long lasting succulent finish.

Recently available for the bargain price of €20 – I was pleasantly surprised by how engaging this whiskey is.

A cracker of a malt.

Sláinte

Dundalgan Irish Whiskey, Blend, 40%

The recently released diverse range from Dundalgan Whiskey have benefited from a fresh restyle – especially their standard blend.

Classic! c/othewhiskeynut

Sporting a classic red topped green bottle livery – the labelling proudly displays it’s West Cork Distillers origins & establishes an attractive uniformity to the series.

info c/othewhiskeynut

After being impressed by the IPA cask finished Dundalgan Single Malt – I thought I’d get back to basics with this ex-bourbon matured blend. Well – over 95% of Irish Whiskeys are blends – so says the Irish Whiskey 2010-2020 report.

Dundalgan in the Tuath c/othewhiskeynut

Golden brown in colour – a soft light honeyed nose greeted me.

Very easy on the palate – gentle vanillas & richer darker caramels gradually made their presence felt.

A frisson of tingly spice on the finish gave a lift to this elegantly simple sipper.

Punches beyond it’s pleasing price point!

Sláinte

Exploring The Penetration Of Irish Whiskey In The German Supermarket Sector.

A random tweet got me thinking.

Obviously I checked on the link & was blown away by Lidl offering a cask of new make whisky to it’s customers!

Lidl whisky cask c/oLidl.de

My inquisitive mind led me to checking out what else they had.

Let’s put it like this – the depth & spread of whiskies on offer would qualify the shop as being a specialist whiskey outlet in Ireland!

The bare figures are pretty outstanding;

Total bottle selection…………………………..127.

Comprising of;

Scotland…………………………………………………….84

America……………………………………………………..19

Ireland……………………………………………………….10

Japan & Taiwan………………………………………….4 each

Wales & Austria…………………………………………2 each

Canada & South Africa………………………………1 each

At only 8% of the market – Irish Whiskey clearly has a long way to go!

But who was flying the Irish flag?

First off – in order of appearance here – Lidl own brand Dundalgan.

Dundalgan Blend c/oLidl.de

Next up – the ubiquitous Jameson in Original, Black Barrel & Caskmates varieties.

Jameson Original c/oLidl.de

Irishman Single Malt made an appearance.

Irishman c/oLidl.de

Kinahan’s popped up with their tasty Kasc Project.

Kinahan Kasc c/oLidl.de

Kilbeggan followed.

Kilbeggan Blend c/oLidl.de

With Paddy being the last whiskey.

Paddy c/oLidl.de

A couple of liqueurs wrapped up the Irish contingent.

I’d definitely be like a kid in a sweet shop drooling over the extensive choice!

Aldi Sud meanwhile had only 8 whisky on offer – 5 Scotch & 1 each from Japan, Canada & Germany. Ireland didn’t even feature!

Sláinte

Header image c/oextra.ie

Dundalgan Single Malt, IPA Edition, 42%

A few years ago I walked into a Scottish supermarket & noted the variety & depth of whisky choices far exceeded that provided in similar Irish stores.

Aldi Scotland whisky choices 2017 c/othewhiskeynut

Well not any longer!

Lidl have just released 5 different styles of whiskey under their own exclusive Dundalgan brand – made for them by West Cork Distillers.

Lidl Ireland whiskey choices 2020 c/othewhiskeynut

Comprising of a blend, charred cask blend & 3 single malts finished in Stout, IPA or Sherry casks – there’s a bottle to suit every palate!

Having recently enjoyed West Cork’s own Stout Cask – I thought I’d diversify into the Dundalgan IPA.

Dundalgan IPA & Tuath Glass c/othewhiskeynut

I wasn’t disappointed!

A fresh, light, bright & gently fruity note greeted me with a bit of depth.

Quite rich on the palate, the IPA cask brought some interesting & complex notes to this malt.

A touch of welcoming spice & gentle prickliness on the finish gave character to this engaging edition.

Back label info c/othewhiskeynut

Ironically I’m not an IPA fan when it comes to beer – I find them too bitter – but this Dundalgan whiskey works a treat!

Makes me want to try out the whole range!

Sláinte

3 Whiskeys For Under €20

Update!!! On January 4th 2022 Ireland implemented a Minimum Unit Pricing – MUP – policy on alcohol with all 40% whiskey in 700ml bottles now costing a minimum of €22.09.

With whiskey prices inevitably spiraling northwards & putting many punters out of the buying game – it’s still possible to find a selection of whiskeys for under €20.

At this price point you can hardly expect non chill filtering, natural colour, fanciful back stories, the strain of barley used nor the name of the field it grew in – what you get is plain simple unpretentious whiskey.

Here’s a few I’ve enjoyed over the years.

Clontarf Trinity c/othewhiskeynut

Clontarf Classic Blend, 40%, Aldi

I found Clontarf to be a robust little number.

‘It’d put hairs on yer chest’ some would say – but I say it possesses a proud character all of it’s own.

Plain simple & straightforward ex-bourbon cask matured.

It hits the mark.

Nice! c/othewhiskeynut

Old Samuel Bourbon, 40%, Tesco

It’s cheap, it’s cheerful & it’s more enjoyable than some well established brands.

Nice!

Tasty! c/othewhiskeynut

JG Kinsey Special Reserve, 40%, Dunnes

This one took me by surprise.

It had flavour, depth & a bit of a pedigree too.

I polished it off in a week – which is highly unusual.

Very pleasant.

Under €20

Being under €20 is no barrier to good taste or flavour. The above 3 demonstrate the variety that is available. Something to suit all palates. You may have to try a few to get the one that satisfies – but at the price point – that’s part of the adventure!

Happy hunting!

Sláinte

JG Kinsey, Special Reserve, Blended Scotch, 40%

Wow!

This one gives a lot!

I picked up this bargain basement blend working my way through all the whiskeys available in my local Dunnes Stores.

2 (1 of 1)
JG Kinsey founded 1892 c/othewhiskeynut

JG Kinsey also comes with gin & vodka options & I had it down as a store brand.

WRONG!

Jacob G Kinsey was an american gentleman who founded the Linfield Distillery in 1892. Pennsylvania was – and still is – associated with rye whiskey. A successful business flourished, floundered, merged & was subsumed into the giant International Beverage Holdings Group.

Kinsey’s name lives on with this current offering – plus numerous blogs & posts about the now abandoned plant at Linfield.

Linfield
Linfield Distillery c/opre-pro.com

Interestingly New Liberty Distillery in Philadelphia – who have a connection with Connacht Whiskey in Ballina – also name check Kinsey with a range of Bourbon, Rye & American Whiskey.

With all this proud heritage – would the liquid inside the bottle deliver?

Well the nose had that sweetly honeyed, richly caramelised aroma – with a touch of depth.

2 (1 of 1)-2
Some pedigree c/othewhiskeynut

As the label states – it was definitely smooth – but the body displayed a lovely wholesomeness which flourished on the finish into a gorgeously drying spiciness.

The source of this depth no doubt comes from the more meaty style of malts produced at the Balmenach, Balblair & Speyburn distilleries of the InterBev Group.

They give the blend a more robust kind of ‘Highland’ appeal – which suits my palate.

A bargain basement beauty!

Sláinte

Good Logo

Waitrose 3 Year Old Blended Scotch, 40%

In London for the weekend – waking up to Brexitland – I needed a drink.

All the supermarket stores do their own label Scotch.

2 (1 of 1)
Waitrose 3yo c/othewhiskeynut

Waitrose’s is a 3yo proclaiming itself  ‘Rich and Warming’.

It’s certainly rich – with added caramel – which dominated the taste for me.

2 (1 of 1)-2
Back c/othewhiskeynut

There were hints of fresh young malt & sweet grain underneath – and it is warming – but those caramelly notes lingered.

Basic entry level fare.

Slàinte

Good Logo

Ben Bracken, Triple Pack, Single Malts, 40%

I’m a big fan of miniatures.

The opportunity to try out a range of styles – or in this case regions – before committing to a full bottle is always a treat.

Having said that. I’d already ruled out buying more supermarket own brand labels. They tend to be chill filtered with added caramel & whilst perfectly fine – they lack finesse.

But spotting these miniatures in my local Lidl.

2 (1 of 1)
A tasty trio! c/othewhiskeynut

I couldn’t pass them by.

Nosing the Speyside first – I choose to do Speyside – Highland – Islay starting from mildest to strongest flavours as recommended by many tasting journals – revealed a pleasant easy honeyed malt.

On a blind tasting this would sit well with any big label brand.

The palate was a bit watery & insignificant to begin with – common to all three malts – before a typical Speyside softly sweet & gentle flavour profile presented itself.

There was even a slight dry spice on the short finish.

Not bad at all.

2 (1 of 1)-2
Which region is your preference? c/othewhiskeynut

The Highland gave a bit more malt biscuity depth to the proceedings.

The Islay – which was my favourite – offered a straight forward satisfying smoky hit.

Each gave a perfectly decent snapshot of the regional styles – perhaps lacking in depth & complexity – but nonetheless an extremely enjoyable way of discerning your palates preferences.

Nice one Lidl!

Slàinte

Good Logo