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.

 

2 comments

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

  2. What is average? I would agree if when you say ‘Simply put, this is slightly above average whiskey’ (note the ‘e’ in your spelling), you regard famous grouse, grants, teachers, red label, J&B as average? I would. So in so doing I think it is a great achievement to offer a whisky of that caliber at that price. Don’t knock 88.5 as I think it’s well deserved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*


8 − = four

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>