Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Galileo 7-70: Especial Gourmet

Galileo 7-70: nice writing
Research conducted prior to my Spanish holiday had revealed that the Galileo 7-70 brandy was made in the area I would be visiting – Murcia. I’d read it was supposed to contain a blend of spirit aged between 7 and 70 years old (hence the name) and, unsurprisingly, this was intriguing enough to convince me I should seek it out. I’ve related the specific details of my search previously, and even offered some opening remarks, so let’s skip any preliminaries and get to the appraisal.

The bottle looks cool enough – old and classical (yet cheap), but there is the slightest impression of balsamic vinegar about it. While at 20% ABV, it was never going to be particularly interesting, was it? It makes you wonder why they don’t bottle it at a higher strength, but maybe that’s the way it comes out of the cask. As it is it tastes like water with a hint of brandy.

I soon started pouring quadruple measures since a double would only be equivalent to a single standard spirit, and soon after that started taking it with ice. It sure looks nice in the glass in that form and it makes a decent savoury sipper that way.

Soon though, I came to feel that it was missing a degree of sweetness, and that if I could add it, I’d be on to a winner. I mixed up a batch of sugar syrup, and just adding a few drops confirmed my hypothesis.

As far as you’re concerned, is this something you should consider picking up? In all honesty I’d say not. The 7-70 years thing doesn’t mean anything if the resulting product is as uninteresting as this, and who buys a bottle for the privilege of adding their own sugar syrup to it? So ultimately it was nice enough, but only because I made it so.

In its favour is the fact that it was cheap, and you could always use it for cooking, but I’m not here to comment on the use of alcohol in cooking, though I do think that is what it’s for anyway - hence "Especial Gourmet" being written on the bottle. If you like brandy, get some proper brandy – something that is at least 38 ABVs, preferably 40.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Aldi vs Lidl pt 2: Glen Orrin 5 year old blended malt

This week the battle of the budget supermarkets continues with a look at Aldi’s 5 year old blended malt, Glen Orrin. It comes in a standard unremarkable bottle, with little information concerning origin or composition and a label that looks like it might have been designed by one of the teams from The Apprentice, but it is definitely bottled for Aldi at 40% ABV. And it’s only £13.29, so what do you get for your money?

Well, on first impression, there’s lots going on. It’s pleasingly sweet with a nice hint of peat on the nose. In fact, I’m not too proud to say I was mightily impressed – not all the notes are perfect, but it was surprisingly good for the price, and I was even moved to Whatsapp my mate Phil about my first impressions. He even went out and bought his own, and shared my opinion, calling it a find.

But then something weird happened, and each time I revisited it, I seemed to enjoy it less and less, until finally I was left wondering what had seemed so impressive about it in the first place. And I can’t answer that. There must have been something impressive about it, something different and intriguing… but now it’s gone.

All my experience so far has suggested whisky should open up -  for several months - after pouring that first glass, but here was something to challenge that supposition. This could be an anomaly among whiskies, and you can be sure I’ll keep you updated as I draw further conclusions, but as for the Glen Orrin 5, I’m afraid it means I can’t score it very highly: 5/10.

And that brings Aldi’s average score over all spirits and liqueurs I’ve tried to 6.25 out of 10. You can check the first instalment of this contest here.

Lidl, this battle’s other competitor (currently sitting on a poor -2 out of 10), do their own vatted malt that is ripe for comparison with this. Phil was actually motivated to pick that one up, and suggested it is better than the Glen Orrin, so I’ll have to follow suit at some point to find out who is the real king of cheap vatted malts… out of Aldi and Lidl. So much to do, so little time…

Anyways, that's all I got for this week. Sorry to've kept you waiting and that. I'll try to be more prompt next week.