Saturday, December 31, 2011

A cheap dram: Tesco's Special Reserve

While sampling a drop of the UK's favourite whisky I decided to compare how it measured up to another untasted cheapie in my grandfather's collection Tesco's Special Reserve, £14.50 for 1l ($22).

For those outside of Britain, Tesco is one of UK's largest supermarket chains. The whisky is being sold under their own label, which along with the price, is an indication not to get too excited.

The bottle boasts that it has been created by 'Master Blender' Richard Paterson. A quick search and I discover that he's White and Macay's Master Blender which almost certainly gives away the whisky's origins.

Colour: Amber. Caramel colouring has been added.

Nose: Christmas pudding. Fruit.

Taste: No distinguishing characteristics. Spice, metallic notes (?)

Finish: Short

What struck me about the whisky was how smooth it was. A real surprise in a whisky in this price bracket. However, it was amazing how devoid of a flavour profile the whisky was, I didn't think you could make such a neutral whisky! I suppose this is the definition of an easy drinker?

Lots of people regularly drink Johnnie Walker Red and Black label. At one third cheaper both the Tesco and Bell's whiskies have something to offer and compare pretty well.

If I was to give a dram I's say two and a quarter lightening bolts out of seven. The smoothness of the whisky (which still surprises me in a dram this cheap) just edges it over the Bells for me.

The Converted


  1. Minimum age 3 years... I would expect a lot of sweetness in there. Feel free to bring back a 50ml sample for me if your Grandfather will allow.

  2. My grandfather would definitely allow, but I've now headed south so can't sneak you a sample.

    If I pop by a Tesco I'll see if there are minatures available, they should be comically cheap if they do them.

  3. Utter horrid piss, drinking it right now, tastes like meths with sugar, disgusting !

  4. There's 20 cl bottle(200ml).It surprises me again and again.If you have a chance try tesco's 8 yo scotch (can't remember the name)-price approx 15 dollars (in Poland).Worth tasting.Cheers!Phil