Attempting to lure us malt drinkers away from our internet comforts and into Aldi stores for the Christmas madness is another selection of astonishingly grand vintage and/or age statement single malts and other spirits, for peanuts. Here’s three of them, released yesterday.
- N: Whilst no one is expecting craft strengths at this price from this store, this comes across a little more powerful than 40%.
After admiring the pale golden hue, nosing, I immediately find myself in joyous vintage [1970’s] bourbon cask territory, the candy-ish orchard fruits flying out with serious intent. Underpinned by a familiar & generalised honeyed grassy yeasty>aspirin cereal profile, those vibrant fruits quickly become muddy and clay-like. Speyside, Ireland? Certainly it’s a single malt.
- T: Fairly modest, well tempered/blended old juice. Honeyed vanilla cereal notes in the main with a touch of warm sweet lemon on the side and again, a little underlying aspirin. Plenty of 3rd/4th/5th?] refill action so guessing age becomes more tricky. Give or take 20 years, more?
- F: Finishes short.
- C: The price is rather more astonishing than the juice, but the juice itself isn’t half bad either. Bearing in mind this doesn’t like oxygen one bit, just keep pouring small measures for repeated fruity whiffs of yesteryear [hopefully]. Possibly a Glen Moray or something of that ilk? Top marks for presentation Aldi.
Scores 78 points
- N: Old yet vibrant and like the Glen Marnoch, with a sense of a good bottling strength in the high 40’s? Oily=briney stewed fruits [red apples>papaya] & putty, sweet linseed oil [Nick], a touch of agri-chemicals & sweet scented detergents [in a good way, ha], and sooty Osmo floor polish. A fine nose and I’m guessing it’s probably Irish.
- T: A sugary & then sharp [add a little water to compensate] fruity putty arrival, more linseed oil, varnished hulled sesame seeds, blanched almonds, lambs lettuce, waxy plastic and red fruit cordial=juiced clay… heaps and heaps of smoothed oaky briney & linseed sweet [redcurrant/Ribena/blueberry] fruit juiced putty/clay. There’s quite some weight to proceedings.
- F: The dark grey oaky putty eventually subsides to reveal the subtlest aniseed before a dusty/grainy marshmallow and sugar almond sweetness – more about the coating than the nut. Nut-wise, we are now talking more of cashews. Good form, decent length finish. I’m guessing again, around 20 years+ for this one.
- C: Remember Lidl’s vintage single malt that led to a media frenzy back in 2011/12? This could well be the next Maxwell WB. Super Irish juice for peanuts. Expect empty shelves in no time with flipping to follow.
Scores 87 points
Pierre Le Duc 1978 Armagnac-Tenareze Aldi 40% [50cl] Aldi
Disappointed in missing Aldi’s Baron de Lustrac 1973 vintage back in 2013, i’m pleased to have caught their 1978 offering at £28 for 50cl.
‘Armagnac-Ténarèze is one of the three terroirs (plantation areas) in the Armagnac region of France where grapes for the distillation of the Armagnac eau-de-vie can be cultivated. This area lies between Bas-Armagnac and Haut-Armagnac, covering the northwestern part of the department of Gers and the southern part of Lot-et-Garonne. Together the three areas form a single region where Armagnac (as well as Côtes de Gascogne and Floc de Gascogne, which share the same AOC-limits) can be produced’. wiki
- N: It’s old alright [provenance], and vibrantly fruity [red berry/cherry cordial] with some varnish, some soot, some leather armchairs and some meaty/fruity/earthy/sweet sponge-y umami for sure. Nose-wise we are in business. Let’s see what the palate produces.
- T: Pretty thin & watery arrival,…… fruity soft/sharp and somewhat grainy. Performs better with larger mouthfuls or perversely, smaller diluted mouthfuls. Prickly fruits are more transformed with water with the emergence of vanilla oils, some light caramel and oily tutti fruity. Needs time to thicken somewhat.
- F: Very light peppery liquorice & dark fruit candy before loads and loads of Marasca cherries, maraschino liqueur and prune juice. The finish is fairly lingering on old bitter drying black fruits, worn leather, old bitter oak, hemp oil and dried tobacco leaves. It gets murky at the death. Ideal with rolling tobacco i’d imagine.
- C: There are plenty of similar/same vintage Armagnac’s on the market, available for three times the price. The palate needs some work but can be groomed in various directions. The arrival aside, worth the purchase for the nose and finish alone.
Scores 81 points
With thanks to Chris.