When Aldi introduced a range of cheap wines, wine snobs scoffed into their Riedel goblets. Who but the chronically desperate would drink a $5 bottle of rose?
That would be the same drop, the 2015 South Point, that went on to pick up a Blue Gold medal – the equivalent of a silver - at the Sydney International Wine Competition against vastly more expensive rivals.
The cut-price supermarket chain hopes to do the same again, but this time in the even snobbier domain of single malt scotch. This week it launched a range of whiskies, including a Glen Marnoch 18-Year-Old Highland Single Malt for an eyebrow-raising $69.99.
Dram, that's cheap
It's all but impossible to find another 18-year-old single malt scotch for under $120 in Australia, or a blend for under $90. When you consider that excise, import duties, plus delivery and handling, account for around $25 of a bottle's price, it's a stunning offer. Industry rumour suggests it might be made by The Dalmore Distillery in the Scottish Highlands.
Tasting notes describe the whisky as: "A rich and vibrant aroma with ripe, fresh fruit notes and smooth vanilla sweetness." The whisky has been awarded a Gold medal at the Spirits Business Global Scotch Whisky Masters 2015.
Is it any good?
If you've ever wondered how snobby whisky aficionados can be, one well-known spirits expert admits he refused Aldi's offer of a sample bottle of the Glen Marnoch 18. Instead we turned to David Ligoff from World of Whisky in Sydney's Double Bay, who joined Executive Style to share a dram and concur that while it's surprisingly good value, it lacks finish.
"The nose is apricot jam and a bit of vanilla, not much spice," Ligoff says. "It's smooth to taste but the finish is a bit lost and I think that's because of the 40 per cent ABV.
"The bottom line is that it has a great nose but it's downhill from there. It's not the worst whisky I've ever tasted, not by a long shot. I'd happily have it home as a party whisky."
Among several other whisky offerings, it is also stocking a Highland Earl Blended Scotch – which won a Silver Medal at the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2015 – for $29.99.
Aldi says its whisky range is available in stores, and not online, while stocks last.