No, it’s not a Chinese magic spell, nor is it some forgotten city from Lord of the Rings. It’s Lidl’s latest whisky.
Abrachan is a vatted malt, 42%, made by Clydesdale Scotch Whisky, Glasgow. It’s ‘triple oak matured’, which means it’s moved between oak barrels that previously held ‘distillery rum’ bourbon, tawny port and oloroso sherry. I can’t see anything telling me how long it was aged. It’s too smooth to be only three years, but no more than eight or they’d be bragging about it.
I can definitely taste a hint of bourbon in there which feels a bit wrong for a Scotch, but it’s still very drinkable. The label has all the bollocks about how many units you can have a day, and if you stick to it you’ll take forever to finish the damn thing. This bottle must be evaporating, it’s already far lower than is legally permitted.
At £17.99, it’s pricier than their other vatted malt, Glen Orchy (£13.49), and probably not that much better. Glen Orchy is a very nice vatted malt at a price lower than most crappy grain blends. Abrachan is another good one but I’d put it level with Glen Orchy on taste. Worth a go but at nearly a fiver more, I won’t make it a regular.
In fact, a couple more quid and you get Ben Bracken in Lidl, a very nice single malt whisky. This one in the middle really doesn’t go anywhere as far as price vs. taste is concerned. Its only plus point is that it comes in a posh box so if you want a good whisky at a reasonable price for a Christmas present for a skint blogger, it does look more impressive than a wrapped bottle that is absolutely obviously a bottle.
Whisky is subjective though. There is no point taking someone else’s word for it, ever. I mean, Bell’s whisky sells enormously well and yet I’d use a gift of Bell’s to clean the toilet. To me, it’s horrible. To many others, it’s just fine.
A fellow smoky-drinker does not like heavily peated whiskies at all. Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Bruaichladdich, he hates them all. Even Ledaig which is very mild by peatiness standards. I absolutely adore the heavy peat taste. So even among the expensive ones, you need to try before you buy. Expensive does not guarantee you’ll like it and cheap does not guarantee you won’t.
Whisky doesn’t have connosieurs, like wine. Whisky has grinning maniacs with very full small glasses.
But – we know what we like.
And I quite like this new Lidl whisky. I’d still go for Glen Orchy as a standard in there but if I felt like a change, without splashing out quite as far as Ben Bracken, I’d get another Abrachan.
Even if it does sound like a Chinese children’s entertainer – ‘Hoooo… Abra… Chan! See, cheeldren, a labbit!’
You just know, when I pass the half-bottle mark, that is going to happen.