Review – Glen Orrin 5yr Blended Malt Whisky
It is this whisky’s older (by some 25yrs) that has captured most of the attention since its release, a success no doubt in terms of column inches promoting Aldi’s range of “cheaper than you would expect them to be given the age statement” spirits. Of course what you’re not getting is much by way of information regarding where the liquid inside the bottle comes from. Glen Orrin might be a real place, just a wee bit up and to the left of Inverness, but that’s not to say the spirit was distilled anywhere nearby. We know it’s a blend, that much is for sure.
Nose: Chewy toffee, barely smoked salmon, root vegetables and lot and lots of grain. Musky and fruity in a perplexing but mildly intriguing way.
Neat: At first easy-going it takes a few sips, or a comparison with other blended Scotch whiskies to note the significance of the young corn flavours here. Generally reasonably smooth, there is just a dusting of cracked pepper and whilst the body is a little thin, it’s not all that bad for a 5yr whisky. Much less interesting than the nose however and the rawness of the oak and grain will be unappealing to some.
Mixing: Despite its shortcomings, this whisky performs respectably in a range of styles of cocktail. Even in the more revealing short drinks such as the Malt Jockey, it isn’t a terrible choice. Here the chocolate bitters fill a void left by the combination of the whisky and vermouth and create a necessary bridge, even if the drink is still a little muddy. This muddiness does unfortunately pervade other drinks; the Blood and Sand for example demands an extra splash of fresh orange juice to perk it up, although again the drink is certainly quaffable for everyday purposes. Cream does a stirling job of glossing over any imperfections, a few Aggravations I’m sure wouldn’t be turned away by certain types of guests. It is citrus fruits however that cut through the young grain flavours to open this whisky up, and as such a Whisky Sour is a simple but effective use. Alternatively the lip-smacking tartness of passion fruit juice works a treat in the Sporran Breeze. Together with apple juice, this is a long and refreshing number with just enough malty notes to let you know you’re drinking whisky.
Glen Orrin 5yr is a value blended whisky that delivers much more than you’d expect at this price point. Whilst it might be beaten in pure flavour terms by its competitors, it is perfectly competent at delivering a pleasing cocktail or two.
Glen Orrin Whisky is available to buy from Aldi
★: Terrible, only drink for a dare.
★★: Meh, not undrinkable but best left alone.
★★★: Reasonable, middle of the road.
★★★★: Tasty stuff, well worth seeking out.
★★★★★: Incredible, booze doesn’t get better than this. You need a bottle in your life.