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Best supermarket whiskies: best whisky buys from Lidl, Aldi, Morrisons and Tescos

There are some fine drams to be found in the supermarket aisles: these are the big brands' best whiskies for your delectation

Published: August 26, 2022

If you want to pick up a decent whisky with your weekly shop, Rosalind Erskine takes a look at some of the best supermarket whiskies.

Over the last few years the perception of whisky has started to shift from an expensive, old man’s drink to be enjoyed neat or over ice to a diverse and exciting range of drams that can be used in cocktails, drunk on sunny days and be enjoyed by everyone. 

Due to this, more and more people are trying whisky and one of the best places to pick up an affordable bottle are the main supermarkets.

Who makes the supermarket own brand whiskies?

Generally this information isn’t in the public domain, as they can come from big name distilleries (under contract) or independent bottlers. There have been some exceptions over the years, including a 12 year old Tesco single malt which featured the signature of Whyte & Mackay’s master blender Richard Paterson.

Can you get a good deal on single malt whisky in the supermarkets?

Over the last few years the quality of own brand supermarket whiskies has greatly improved. Aldi and Lidl, by far, have the biggest range of options and a few have consistently won awards. Both Lidl and Aldi’s whiskies have names that don’t relate to the distillery, but have been made up to create a range, such as Ben Bracken or Glen Marnoch.

From own brand sweet Speyside single malts to smoky Islay whiskies, the main supermarket whiskies include a great range of drams that'll suit all tastes - some even award-winning. Here we take a look at some of the best that you can pick up with your next weekly shop.

Lidl Ben Bracken Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Lidl Ben Bracken Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Lidl Ben Bracken Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Price: £16.99

Best for: enjoying on cold nights

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Lidl has won multiple awards for its range of whiskies, the most recent of which was a Ben Bracken that was launched in late 2020 and is a 16 year old smoky Islay single malt. 

Whisky expert Blair Bowman dubbed the single malt “An incredibly moreish dram, perfect for the colder winter months”.

Tasting notes: On the nose there’s a salty smokiness, and on the palate you’ll find bonfire smoke, bananas, apples and oranges.

Score: 5/5 

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Buy it here: Lidl Ben Bracken Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Aldi Glen Marnoch

Aldi Glen Marnoch
Aldi Glen Marnoch

Price: £16.99

Best for: a sipping whisky

Aldi’s Glen Marnoch has won awards including a Scotch Whisky Masters. This Speyside single malt is rich and fruity and a great example of the style of whisky available from Scotland’ most prolific whisky producing region.

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Tasting notes: On the nose there’s vanilla, which follows on the palate along with oakiness and malt.

Score: 5/5 

Buy it here: Aldi Glen Marnoch

Morrisons The Best Blended Malt Whisky

Morrisons The Best Blended Malt Whisky
Morrisons The Best Blended Malt Whisky

Price: £19

Best for: pairing with chocolate

This whisky is made from a blend of whiskies that have been aged for a minimum of five years before being blended and left to marry together for up to three months in American oak bourbon barrels.

Tasting notes:This is light on the nose with hints of honey and vanilla on the palate.

Score: 3.5/5

Buy it here: Morrisons The Best Blended Malt Whisky

Aldi Glen Orrin 12 Year Old Blended Whisky

Aldi Glen Orrin 12 Year Old Blended Whisky
Aldi Glen Orrin 12 Year Old Blended Whisky

Price: £19.49

Best for: cocktails

This whisky is a complex and rich dram that’s fruity and aromatic. It’ll stand up well in a cocktail, but is also very good neat or over ice.

Tasting notes: on the nose there’s honey and on the palate you may find ripe stone fruits, more honey and vanilla.

Score: 4/5

Buy it here: Aldi Glen Orrin 12 Year Old Blended Whisky

ASDA McKendrick's Blended Scotch Whisky 3 Years Old

ASDA McKendrick's Blended Scotch Whisky 3 Years Old
ASDA McKendrick's Blended Scotch Whisky 3 Years Old

Price: £22.95

Best for: a bargain

Asda also has a blended Scotch that's cheap, cheerful and ideal for mixing. It has mixed reviews, but you can’t go wrong with this one for cocktails or drinking with a mixer such as coke.

Tasting notes: hints of cinnamon, honey and vanilla.

Score: 3/5

Buy it here: ASDA McKendrick's Blended Scotch Whisky 3 Years Old

Tesco Special Reserve Scotch Whisky

Tesco Special Reserve Scotch Whisky
Tesco Special Reserve Scotch Whisky

Price: £16

Best for: a cocktail party

Tesco has its own brand blended Special Reserve Scotch whisky, which at £16 for a litre. With decent reviews, this three year old blend would be ideal for cocktails.

Tesco also often does good discounts (mainly for those with a Clubcard) on well-known single malts, including Laphraoig.

Tasting notes:On the nose there’s vanilla, and the palate is smooth and sweet.

Score: 3/5

Buy it here: Tesco Special Reserve Scotch Whisky

M&S Blended Scotch Whisky

M&S Blended Scotch Whisky
M&S Blended Scotch Whisky

Price: £14.45

Best for: A hot toddy

This well rounded whisky is made from a blend of single malts and grain whiskies. It’s good served neat but is best for cocktails or a hot toddy for when the winter sets in.

Tasting notes:

Score: 3.5/5 

Buy it here: M&S Blended Scotch Whisky

Sainsbury's Highland Malt Scotch Whisky, Taste the Difference

Sainsbury's Highland Malt Scotch Whisky, Taste the Difference
Sainsbury's Highland Malt Scotch Whisky, Taste the Difference

Price: £20

Best for: old fashioneds 

This is quite a rich whisky, making it ideal in a classic drink such as an old fashioned. Its fruity, spicy and tangy notes make it a well balanced dram that’s available at a great price.

Tasting notes: On the nose there’s a spiciness, while on the palate there’s Christmas cake, orange and chocolate notes. The finish is warming and spicy.

Score:4/5 

Buy it here: Sainsbury's Highland Malt Scotch Whisky, Taste the Difference

Interested in all things whisky? Check out our round-ups of the best whiskies on the planet, from Speyside to Islay, Japan to Mexico, eye-wateringly expensive to under £50

Best whisky glasses: from crystal to tumblers, budget to Glencairn, from Amazon to ASDA
9 of the best Scottish whiskies: our favourite Scotch brands
Best Islay whisky: from Ardbeg to Laphroaig, the Islay whiskies you need to try
Best rye whiskey: ideal rye for a Sazerac, Manhattan, or simply neat
Best peated whisky: from Speyside to Islay, the peaty whiskies to please
8 of the best single malt whiskies
Best expensive whiskies worth the price tag: Macallan, Glengoyne, Tobermory, Glenfiddich
Best world whiskies: from cheap to expensive, the world whisky brands you have to try
Best Irish whiskey: from cheap to expensive, single malt, blends, and smoky
Best Speyside whiskies: from single malt to blended, M&S to Glenfiddich
Best English whiskies: the English whisky brands worth buying
Best whiskies under £50: cheap whisky that tastes expensive

Best blended whiskies: is it worth buying blended whisky? The best brands

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a commission on items purchased through this article, but this does not affect our editorial judgement

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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