Whisky review: A dram for all budgets - from Rosebank 31-year-old to supermarket buys

Whilst older whisky doesn’t necessarily mean better, it has been a bumper month for those that enjoy, or collect, old and rare drams.

In mid-July Benromach Distillery in Speyside announced it was launching its second annual release of Benromach 40-year-old, with just over 1,000 bottles of this rare, single malt available to enthusiasts globally.

The launch follows a prestigious award win for Benromach 40-year-old, priced at £2,000 a bottle, at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2022, where it won ‘Best in Show’.

Now, those watching the comings and goings of Rosebank Distillery will be pleased to know the team have launched a rare bottling drawn from casks that were salvaged before the distillery’s untimely closure in the early 1990s.

Benromach Distillery, Forres, one of the destinations on Speyside's Malt Whisky Trail. Picture: John Paul Photography

The 31-year-old is composed of scarce stocks from just before the Falkirk site was mothballed in 19‘93. The 31-year-old Rosebank is a little less expensive than the Benromach, coming in at £1,800.

But what about those of us who’d like a good dram, but don’t have thousands to spend? Well, it is possible to get an award-winning whisky for £50 or under. This year’s Whisky Masters saw the Lowlands region being the top area of whisky production for budget-friendly single malts. Top-scoring options were discovered in both the premium subcategory (under £50) and the super-premium subcategory (under £100).

Some of these – and other regions – award-winning budget drams include Lauder's 15-year-old, Clydebuilt Shipwright from Ardgowan Distillery Company, Glasgow 1770 Single Malt Scotch Whisky: Triple Distilled, and Benromach Contrasts: Organic and Kilchoman Sanaig – an organic single malt.

Consumers can also pick up a budget award-winning whisky from Lidl or Aldi, as their offering consistently scores highly in national awards. Lidl has won multiple awards for its range of whiskies, including their 16-year-old Islay Ben Bracken, which was launched in late 2020 and is priced at £34.99.

Over at Aldi, their 12-year-old Glen Marnoch single malt, which is priced at £19.99, is ideal for those looking for a bargain.

So no matter what your budget this summer and beyond, you can still enjoy a great dram. Cheers.

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