Glen Orchy 5 Year Old Scotch Review

By Richard Thomas

Rating: C+

Glen Orchy

Glen Orchy 5 Year Old Scotch
(Credit: Richard Thomas)

Jim Murray has been causing quite a stir lately, first by announcing that bourbon has been beating out scotch lately. Then he gave Glen Orchy 5 Year Old, a generic brand available through the Lidl supermarket chain an 88.5 rating, higher than many basic, mass market blended scotches in The Whisky Bible 2014.

Glen Orchy 5 Year Old is a product of the very Scottish-sounding Clydesdale Scotch Whisky Co., which supplies Lidl with many of its scotches, and is owned by Whyte and Mackay. The scotch is a vatted malt, a surprising feature for a generic supermarket brand and probably why Murray liked it so much, and is bottled at 40% abv. Glen Orchy itself is a real place in southwestern Scotland.

The Scotch
The color of Glen Orchy is a rich gold, leaning a little into coppery. The appearance is dark enough and the whiskey within young enough that I was left wondering if caramel wasn’t an additive, and checking the label I found it was.

The nose is malty and a little sweetly so, with notes of grass and brine, and just a touch of toffee. The taste runs from there, offering malt and toffee, and a tinge of dry astringency. The finish is very mild.

Glen Orchy is nice, simple stuff, and certainly a cut above most mass market blends. As to whether it deserves its laurels, recall that the 100-point system used by critics like Jim Murray is sometimes misleading, since products with a score of 86 or 87 are often merely average. To an American, seeing a score of 88.5 suggests a B+, and that is certainly not the grade Glen Orchy deserves. Even so, it is a step above the typical mass market blended scotch.

The Price
Where Glen Orchy has it’s real “wow” power is in its price tag: €7.99 ($10 or $11). How often does one see a vatted malt, even a young one, at such a price? Furthermore, Glen Orchy is priced well below comparable brand name blended scotches. Simply put, this is slightly above average whiskey going for rotgut prices.

 

One comment

  1. Nice review but whiskey goes better with a Jack Russell by your side.

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