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.

 

7 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!!)

    • It must be that British whisky tax. Down on the Continent its much cheaper, even in places where the VAT is as high as it is in the UK.

  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

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