Glen Orchy 5 Year Old Scotch Review

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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.

 

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23 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.

  3. 7.99 Euro? In my Lidll it’s £13.29 (about 18 Euro!!)

  4. Tony Barbaro Sant

    March 27, 2015

    Well, I just purchased a Glen Orchy 5-year-old blended malt from a Lidl in Malta for Euro 12.99, a way-below-average price for a malt, even a blended one. Have yet to try it out…

  5. If I recall correctly, Thomas lives in Europe and not the UK, and I know the UK has a very high VAT and excise tax. That probably explains the early prices differences. Now I’m just guessing, but if Murray praised this stuff to the silvery moon more than a year ago, it only figures that Lidl might raise the price on it. That is another thing to think about.

  6. Also perfect for mixing with coca cola

  7. Scotch whisky does NOT have an “e” in it. Irish whiskey and American whiskies may have but Scotch certainly does not.

    • What our style guide dictates about that has changed over time. When this was written “whisky” was used only in formal titles, and all other references defaulted to “whiskey.” That is the standard for the main American style guides. We’ve since expanded it to cover specific context.

    • You can take your spelling and stick it up your limey bunghole. Jesus! People like you would get your message across more effectively if you just tattooed “Scotch Snob” on your foreheads.

    • “You can take your spelling and stick it up your limey bunghole. Jesus! People like you would get your message across more effectively if you just tattooed “Scotch Snob” on your foreheads.”

      Knowing how to spell properly doesn’t make him a snob, you Merkin retard.

  8. I’ve had a bottle of Glen Orchy bought for me for Christmas. I don’t care if it is spelt whisky or whiskey. What I do know is that it is a bloody good blended scotch. Cheers from across the pond.

  9. As Rabbie Burns once said ‘A rose, by any other name……’. Does it matter whether it is ‘whiskey’ or ‘whisky’? Only the lawyers are interested. We like whisky(e)!
    As I write this, I am enjoying a large Glen Orchy whisky and it is indeed lovely. It is typical of a lowland Scotch, mellow and sweet. Beautiful!

    Regards,

    Govanslapheid

  10. October 2016, and Glen Orchy is still £13.99 at lidl It is nice whisky.

  11. Sorry £13.29.A bottle our Idle was rebuilt over the summer so I have missed out on some cheap drinks.

  12. Mauro Sempreboni

    Glen ORCHY è un buon Whisky, molto piacevole e non troppo complesso. Da piacere senza conseguenze a livello fisico. Significa semplicità e carattere sincero. Caratteristiche scozzesi non replicabili in altri paesi. Chiedo! Glen ORCHY e leggermente torbato?

    Mauro Sempreboni

  13. Mauro Sempreboni

    L’acqua rilasciata dal ghiaccio nel bicchiere aumenta la piacevolezza di questo sorprendente whisky. Tre amici: un italiano, un tedesco ed un londinese. Abbiamo scoperto qualcosa di buono in una bella serata sul lago di Garda.

  14. Can you suggest where I can buy this since Lidl no longer stock it?

    • The only place I have ever heard of it being sold was Lidl. It’s a generic that was made for them.

  15. Hi, I was shopping in our local Lidl store and took a fancy to the Glen Orchy blended malt whisky, I have been buying this product for about 3 and a half years, and now find that they no longer stock it.
    Any ideas where this can be bought?

    • I’ve been hearing that it’s not out there from a few different countries, and know it had disappeared from Portugal and Spain as well. It may just be gone. The problem with supermarket generics like that is that asking about it isn’t as simple as with a proper liquor company.

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