Three years ago, Lidl hit the headlines when it released the 33-year-old ‘Maxwell’ single malt at a price of £39.99 – and sold all its stock within three days. Ben Hulme, head of booze at Lidl UK, denied that the whiskies they’ve released this year are ‘loss leaders’ aimed at luring customers into stores in the crucial pre-Christmas trading period, and said the company was able to source the whiskies at such low prices thanks to its “excellent relationships with suppliers”.
Lidl’s range of Christmas whiskies has been highly celebrated again this year, and we’re unlikely to be trying a whisky as old as this again. Not for under £50 anyway.
To put all this in context, a 30 year old Whyte & Mackay would cost around £175, a 30 year old Ballentine’s would cost around £225 and a 38 year old Chivas Regal would cost around £550
Batch: JM/012 Lot: 0862B
70cl / 40% ABV
Colour: Deep mahogany gold with glittering copper highlights.
Nose: Warm and inviting. Enticing aromas of baked apples, citrus fruits, marzipan and moist gingerbread flaunt themselves in an intoxicating infusion of unashamed luxury. Silky smooth and flawless, the hand of time has nurtured this noble spirit to perfection. Gentle whispers of old Oxford marmalade, aged oloroso sherry, soft chewy liquorice and sweet mangoes complete this complex tapestry of delight.
Palate: Give this aged icon all the reverence it richly deserves by holding it long in the mouth. Immediately these hidden treasures are unlocked; caramelised pear, bitter chocolate, crushed almonds and freshly ground coffee enrich the tongue. However, this is quickly replaced by a vanilla sweetness, maple syrup, Bakewell tart and dark treacle. Pure harmony prevails. A kiss of cinnamon, Madeira cake and ripe black cherries bring this masterpiece to a close.
*Tasting notes taken from the side of the tube because the rampant hyperbole amused me so much.
Standard. Quite pleasing. Cork stopper.
The whisky couldn’t quite live up to Lidl’s effusive description, so despite being a bit of bargain it was also a little disappointing. It probably would have benefited by a slightly higher ABV to give the richness an extra punch.
The finish was quite long, with notes of burnt treacle toffee and chocolate coated almonds.
The other releases in this range were a 22 year old (£29.99) and a 25 year old (£39.99). For my money the 25 year old was the pick of the bunch.