Much has already been written about supermarket chain Lidl and their ‘budget range’ of Ben Bracken whiskies.
I’m a little late on the bandwagon for a review as most other review sites covered them in mid November when they were launched and I am pretty sure that they will have long sold out.
I’m not going to look to deeply at the value side of things, however it must be said that a 28 year old Speyside and a 22 year old Islay for under £50 and £45 respectively look to be remarkable value for money. It is also worth noting that the packaging looks fantastic, each coming in their own embossed presentation case. They also state on their box that the whisky is chill filtered. A little bit of transparency on their part (Bravo!)
Ben Bracken 28 y.o Speyside, 40% abv
The nose is quite subtle, I needed to get right into the glass before I got anything. The nose is typical Speyside with floral, grassy and honey notes along with a grape and a slighty bizarre earthy note.
The palate is smooth and sweet although somewhat muted. There are strong fruit elements of gooseberries, honey, banana and melon. Dilute but balanced. You can taste the age in this whisky.
The finish is quite short but again smooth and pleasant with hints of marmalade and oak. A very easy drinker but not a lot of depth here.
Ben Bracken 22 y.o Islay (unspecified distillery) 40% abv
Much more going on here than the Speyside. Notes of smoke, brine and ash as well as Germolene, Elastoplasts and a hint of damp, earthy wood.
The palate is slightly muted but has notes of brine, earth and a light phenolic tang. There are citrus notes and cedar wood here too. There are some other flavours here but I found them quite hard to separate.
There is a short / medium finish and continues where the palate left off but with a slightly sweet aftertaste.
I could spend all day writing about the ridiculous prices that are being charged for whisky these days. These Ben Brackens are age stated whiskies with transparent labels and well presented at a decent price but, as with everything in life you do get what you pay for.
These whiskies do feel, unfortunately, slightly too diluted which is to their slight detriment.
On a side note I would also like to point out that whoever wrote the tasting notes on the back of the boxes has an very admiral volcabulary. Sesquipedalian verbosity at its finest.