Just before Christmas I was doing my usual rounds of the supermarkets, checking out what delights were on offer, and upon passing a local branch of Lidl I thought I'd take a quick peek in case there was something different on the shelves.
How right I was as I immediately spotted a bottle not previously seen by myself.
This "own brand" bottling was named Abrachan. Now normally I'd not be too interested in such a product but after checking out the packaging I was a little more intrigued.
The information I was getting was that this was a blended malt, seldom seen these days, and was a triple matured whisky having drawn upon malt whiskies that had spent time in bourbon barrels, Oloroso sherry butts and Tawny port pipes.
A further check revealed a bottling strength of 42% ABV and that this whisky had come to us courtesy of Clydesdale Scotch Whisky Co., Glasgow, G2 5RG.
Now, the reason I included the postcode is that after a little searching on the internet I discovered that this postcode is the very same used by Whyte & Mackay and relates to their headquarters on St. Vincent Street, Glasgow.
As highlighted within a recent Facebook group, Whyte & Mackay have a large range of whiskies to choose from, above and beyond those from their own distilleries, and therefore your guess is as good as mine as to which whiskies have been used to make this blend.
Pleasantly surprised at the fact this was blended malt, triple matured and bottled at a higher than usual 42% ABV I decided to take a punt whilst quietly telling myself to expect very little, after all it was a supermarket own brand released specifically at Christmas.
Very little is what I got.
Onto my notes:
Nose - Not too bad but very young and unbalanced. All the usual red fruits were here with the slightest hint of buttered creaminess but all in all they were not integrated well. The main problem was a distinct off note that smelt rather like rotten eggs. Could this be my first experience of a sulphur laden cask??
Palate - Thin, watery, young, raw spirit that's had what feels like just a slight influence of possibly 3rd fill casks. Again very unbalanced and a little nasty. Only real positive was a slight red fruit note that dried on the mouth but this really isn't too far off being flavoured vodka.
Finish - What finish?
Overall one to definitely be avoided. Whilst I commend supermarkets for going a little bit further in getting a decent, supposed, presentation out there, with the 42% and all, they really need to start taking a little interest in what's going into the bottle. It's hard to believe that everything in here is malt whisky as it's so flat and raw but I suppose the distilleries do have to get rid of their crap somehow. I don't know whether I'll stop buying these supermarket brands or not, in the hope of unearthing a gem, but please at least try to keep us coming back for more.
Until next time,