Lidl – Three New Single Malts

In the middle of last month I was invited to Lidl’s Pick of Scotland event held at the Lighthouse in Glasgow and this event included the launch of three new single malt Whiskies.

Lidl’s new Scotch Single Malts are, a Speyside, a Highland and an Islay. Each of them selling for £17.49 for a 70 cl bottle. All have been bottled at 40% Alc/vol. With no age statement.

At the Glasgow event I was able to have a wee sip of each of the new expressions. Also on show was a fabulous range of Scottish products from Steak to smoked salmon to ales and vegetables, so I was glad to see Lidl promoting such a wide range of Scottish food and drink.

Back to the Single Malts.

Paul McQuade, head of Lidl’s Scottish  buying team, “We’re incredibly proud of our whisky range and with World Whisky Day approaching this is the perfect time to release our new range of Ben Bracken single malt Scotches.“

My tasting notes and thoughts.

Ben Bracken Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky

70cl 40% abv
A very typical Speyside, light and sweet, quite lavish with nutty fruit flavours, apple, pear, vanilla spice, mouthfeel is creamy, a medium finish where I found a little oakiness  and toffee.

This is such an easy dram to sip, light and quite delicate, must be an aperitif.

Ben Bracken Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

70cl 40% abv
Now this is so different from the Speyside. I have some fruitcake flirting with a touch of heather, cereal and honey, quite nutty with the slightest whiff of floral smoke, we have a wee bit of syrupy indulgence, a lot is happening in my glass. A longer finish than the Speyside.

This is a little more complex, so pour yourself a glass after a hard day at work. An all round pleasing dram, has a little bit of everything.

Ben Bracken Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

70cl 40% abv
Now for the Islay. The first sip tells me a lot, this cannot be confused with anything other than an Islay Single Malt, the BBQ is on and the seared gammon is going well, but next to the gammon are some scallops and langoustines, this BBQ is on Loch Indaal beach with a whisp of sea spray, peat smoke is all around, we also have dark chocolate someone has opened a first aid box, enjoying this dram next to some rock pools and dried seaweed on the rocks.

This one is fairly complex, its complete character unfolding gradually, it finishes with warming peat and smoke lingering on the palate.
This Dram is by far the best of the three, well done to all who selected these single malts especially to those that picked the Islay.

To all the readers do not hesitate to go and try these drams  value for money with no loss in flavour or style.

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23 Responses

  1. Carol Andrew says:

    I have just tasted a dram of the speyside, expecting an Islay , as thatbids what I was expecting ….I live on Islay, my sisters shopping is obviously not up to much, but I am enjoying the subtle tang of this dram,a very enjoyable tasting!

  2. Carol Andrew says:

    I have just tasted a dram of the speyside, expecting an Islay , as that what I was what I had asked for…I live on Islay, my sisters shopping is obviously not up to much, but I am enjoying the subtle tang of this dram,a very enjoyable tasting! It just goes to show that I need to widen my tastes!

  3. James says:

    I actually bought the Ben Bracken Speyside malt in Lidl’s supermarket in Mijas for €10 a bottle (£9). I could hardly believe it. It is pretty good value in Scottish branches at £17.50, so I got one of the bargains of the year.

  4. Bought bottle Ben Bracken (Speyside) lovely whisky.Once finished will definitely try the other two.Well done “Lidl ” someone has done their sums correctly

  5. Roger.l. Blease says:

    I bought a bottle of ” Ben Bracken Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky ” as a pick me up for my wife who was suffering from a heavy cold, she said it tasted worse than her medication, I tried it and it did, it tasted like iodine. DISGUSTING stuff.

  6. Bill Rawcliffe says:

    Ben Bracken is not a distillery on Islay, so Lidl are probably legally wrong in their statement!

    My favourite Islay is Ardbeg, but Lagavulin and Laphroaig make some attempts to equal it, but at a major distance.

    Other Islay distilleries are Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain (but, in my opinion, this is not a typical Islay malt), Caol Ila, Gartbreck, Kilchoman, Port Charlotte and Post Ellen Maltings.

  7. Ivor Biggun says:

    There are no Ben Bracken distilleries in Speyside or the Highlands either. Take a moment to think before you post Mr Rawcliffe.

  8. Dave Smith says:

    Seems that Roger bought his islay whisky expecting something to taste like whisky *not* *from* *islay*. It has been a while since I’ve tried their islay, but it wasn’t that dissimilar to whisky typical of islay. I’ve only had laphroaig, lagavulin and bowmore, but these smoky, medicinal flavours are what you’d expect of islay. It is a complex, acquired taste, and the lidl example has positive reviews from people who know and appreciate islay whisky

  9. Jooboy says:

    That’s not how it works..
    Anyone can bottle a whiskey from an Islay distillery..
    Aldis Glen Marnoch is Laphroaig and I am told that Ben Bracken is a young Bowmore..
    Just as Berry Bros and Rudd are not a distillery..but they definitely sell their bottles of Islay Whisky

  10. Aberoy says:

    Tried the Islay version, I like my whisky but no expert. I loved this, very smooth and typical island malt traits at what can only be described as a bargain price. Some peculiar reviews on here, perhaps the iodine was the seaweed flavours that are synonymous with island malts! Nectar in my book, well done Lidl! I look forward to trying the other two although it may be difficult not to buy Islay again first!

  11. Philip Cox says:

    Lidel buy casks from various distilleries. For example the speyside is bought from Tamnavulin. I think this range is brilliant.

  12. John D'Aubray-Butler says:

    The islay bottle actually states it is produced & bottled by Clydesdale Scotch Whisky Co., Glasgow.

  13. Alan says:

    Roger needs to get a grip. Doubt very much if he’s Scottish, but can guarantee he knows hee-haw aboot whisky. Just bought a bottle this afternoon & astonished at the quality for the price. A fine islay dram.

  14. Jim says:

    The Bracken I got today has a silver IWSC 2018 award imprinted on the label
    The smell from the top of the bottle ain’t great and hints at dubious origins but it tastes OK though not a patch on the big boys from the Isle

  15. Nick Threlfall says:

    Sorry , just bought a ‘ Speyside from Lidl , recommend on various sites , with all bullshit of it tasting like vanilla oaks and various other things ! It’s just crap . Wasted £17 on a drink that I could have spent on a 3 ml of really decent stuff . Think I’ll water it down with gin

  16. Alan K says:

    Liddl’s “Ben Bracken” Islay single malt is very good, and at a great price.
    By the way, as a response to an earlier comment, with me as a retired chemist, I couldn’t detect any hint of iodine.
    I would certainly recognise the smell.
    Ben Bracken Islay is good value and is worth buying.

  17. Neil Wilson says:

    FACT: All Ben Bracken whiskies are created by Whyte & Mackay and then supplied to LIDL. LIDL do not deal direct with ‘various distilleries’. I just picked up the Islay expression in Carcassonne for €13.98.

  18. Matt says:

    Bought “it” this week in Lidl GB…. It is not whisky! It’s rocket fuel! First sniff is OK but next one is disaster. This thing smells like burned rubber. Same with taste – burned rubber, shoe leather, chemicals, rotten potato… AVOID!
    I am planning to return it today…

  19. Peter says:

    i bought the Islay today, as i love most peaty offerings from this island.
    i think its an absolute bargain for the price. Its quite clear that many of the reviewers above had unreal expectations of this whisky. Iodine, rubber, charred wood are found in reviews of most Islay peat monsters and are generally seen as positive comments.
    I found nothing offensive in this, either on the nose or palate, and in general would rate it higher than for example, the rather lame Bowmore NAS small batch Bourbon cask that i have on my shelf, along with Laphroaig Select,in favour of more interesting and more heavily peated gems.
    All in all i think this is an interesting effort, i also have the highland from Lidl, and the blended malt from Aldi, all good drams.

  20. Jimmyboy says:

    It’s not the islay version’s fault if you’re a pussy. #justsaying

  21. Ian MacDonald says:

    Hi, I purchased the Ben Bracken Islay this morning, dissatisfied and disappointed that despite the outer case having Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky all over it, it is in fact produced and bottled in Glasgow. I just feel the Islay Single Malt Whisky is rather misleading…also is that legal …the outer carton says 6 times its Islay whisky…It is clearly not…surely that’s not legal

  22. Herman Halfmouw says:

    Had a good laugh reading the comments, while sniffing and sipping (and enjoying!) my Bracken Speyside & Highland.
    Still, no one seems to know which distilleries produces these whiskies. Obviously, Ben Bracken is not a distillery, and we may assume that the Islay is not distilled in a pub in Glasgow. So, does anyone know where the Bracken malts come from? (Tamnavulin=Bracken Speyside.)

  23. John Marshall says:

    It’s curious why some people are getting so wound up about Lidl’s Ben Bracken.
    I have a bar at home filled with many different offerings that I’ve bought and tasted over the years, varying very much in price – one or two I’m embarrassed to admit to,,
    We all have different preferences and tasting is the only way to tell if a particular whisky will hit the spot. Taste buds naturally differ from person to person.
    I’m more interested in the products taste and quality than where and who produced it.
    I was given a bottle of Ben Bracken as a gift at Christmas and really quite enjoyed it . When I was told it’s origin and price, I was truly surprised about where it came from, but most of all it’s price.
    If you are a whiskey lover I really recommend you give it a try – at its current price, what have you got to lose?

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