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