GlenMarnoch Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky Review

Ahh the rolling hills and deep loch that make Glen Marnoch such a special place in everyone’s heart, except it’s not, it’s a made up name by Aldi because calling their Aldi Islay Single Malt, well calling it that doesn’t sound quite as romantic, a bit like Haig Club painting a picture of Highland Glens and castles and stuff when in fact it’s made in a massive factory in Fife.

I like the Aldi range, I’ve said this before I know, it offers a Single Malt from the Highlands, Speyside and Islay as well as two aged blends a non aged statement blend and a Single Grain, more on some of these another time.
I’ve opted for the Islay Single Malt because I want to learn to love Islay whiskies more. although I love the hard hitting Talikser 10 year old I’ve always kind of stayed away from the peated whiskies Islay is famous for, well maybe not stayed away but certainly never really investigated fully.
On the Nose I get hammered with peat and heat, a little glue and pinch of spice, it’s best to leave this in the glass for twenty minutes and I have to say it’s getting better now that the bottle is a third of the way down opening up a little sweetness.
Taste wise I’ll be honest and because I’m used to full on peaty whisky I found the first week of tasting this a little hard work to find anything other than smoke. One of the things Aldi is clearly doing is saying “this is our Islay whisky, Islay whiskies taste of smoke and heat and so we’re going to smash you in the face with it”. After a week or so though and the bottle is coming along nicely, I’m now getting chilli jam with a little fruit, strawberry and plum, and a hint of those spiced nuts you get in pubs, a drop or two of water helps bring this out.

Finish wise it’s a spicy affair, lots of heat and chilli and with water added it becomes a lot smoother.

So there you go, a sub twenty quid Single Malt which is pretty straight forward and a decent dram with its only real downsides is the adding of colour, which I think has been added, and the fact they put it out at 40%, if this was 43% or even 46% it would be brilliant but I understand that supermarkets are not aiming their whisky at diehards so I’ll give them their due.
I’ve also recently been getting my way through Bowmore’s small batch reserve and let’s just say if it came to buying the Bowmore again or buying two of the Aldi I know where I’d be heading.
Just a quick to say I’ll be trying to review the rest of the range over the next couple of months but thanks to a massive household repair job whisky is at the bottom of my shopping list.
The Captain.


  1. Just catching up on your blog after finding you on Twitter. Because Aldi has an american counterpart in Trader Joe's, I'm wondering if the infamous Finlaggan Old Reserve Islay Single Malt that can be found at Trader Joe's is an alternate label for this GlenBollocks. The tasting notes sound awfully familiar. I like starting a drinking session with an Ardbeg 10 and following up with something like a Finlaggan, Smokey Joe, or even Islay Mist 8 Year.

    Thanks for your blogs and tweets.


    Alec P


  2. My wife bought me a bottle of Glen Marnoch Islay single malt whisky And it was horrid. I tried two small glasses then threw the rest down the sink. I had hoped it would be similar to Glen Moray, which I love, but it wasn,t


  3. Strange comment to make, Islay whisky will always be completely different to something like Glen Moray.

    And pouring whisky you could give to someone else? Shameful.

    The Captain.


  4. 2 kinds of whisky lovers , those who like islay and those who dont, it,s like Marmite or kippers , I for one love Arbroath smokies and hate Marmite.
    But above all I love Islay Malts from the subtle bruichladdich to the sublime Lagavulin , or the totally mad Octomore (80ppm peat content) Ardbeg 1974 was the best malt that has ever passed my lips.


  5. I am new to whisky and just trying the Single Malt Islay right now and it is not too bad. No where near a Jura Superstition, but at 2/3 the price or less, I was not excepting it to be. Tastes a little watered down, so agree 100% that it should be 43% plus, but overall a nice drop for the money.


  6. Okay after a couple or more glasses, the biggest flavours I find is a heavy smoke, some peat and a TCP kind of after taste. Still not bad, if you like that kind of thing. I myself, I don't mind.


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