Whisky Wednesday: Tesco Special Reserve

Review Whisky

2.0 stars

Most of the whisky I review here is single malt; it’s usually fairly well aged and is very much a ‘premium product’.

This week we have the exact opposite, in the form of Tesco Special Reserve Scotch Whisky, a 3 year old blended whisky of no clear origin. The question is, how good can a seven pound bottle of supermarket whisky be?!

Tesco Special Reserve Scotch Whisky

Well, it looks fairly good in the glass, having got some decent colour from it’s short stint in the cask. The nose is a little unappealing, full of raw grains and alcohol and not a great deal else – there is the tiniest hint of a toffee sweetness, but it’s almost undetectable. A splash of water robs it even of this hint.

I’m pleasantly surprised on tasting, however. Although there is an initial burst of slightly harsh grain, it quickly fades leaving you with a light, gently sweet and smooth whisky. Watered, that harshness lingers longer and the gentle sweetness falls away – definitely one to be enjoyed neat, then.

Ok, so this is a simplistic whisky that will never set the world on fire. It’s nose is pretty uninspiring, but as a drinking whisky you could do a lot worse. Just don’t sniff too deeply as you drink!


Craig B

I agree. As a ‘midweek’ whisky its ok. When drunk in isolation its not too bad but compared to other blends such as Grants or Monkey Shoulder its harsh. The nose is pretty nasty tbh, very medicinal and not too pleasant. The mouth feel and finish is ok but disappears rather quickly.

Richard Caulker

Monkey Shoulder is a blended malt as opposed to an blended scotch whisky.
It is a blend of 3 Grant’s single malts, namely Glenfiddich, Balvenie, and Kininvie.


Well Tesco just substituted a Grants family reserve with this one as a home delivery. Its going back!!!! My god don’t replace a decent product wit MOONSHINE.


In 2014 I’ve been back to Poland, after couple of years in Britain spend on ruining of the British economy as a worker 😉
I really missed the taste of the ordinary sider and whisky since. (Btw on the Island I’ve missed not pasterizated lager, ‘cos stouts and bitters are in Albion just prima).
So, looking for something more “whiskisch” then our “vodkas”, I went to my local Tesco, and Kaboom!
There is a “Special Reserve” on the shelf!
I’m telling you, Friends of Orange Bottles: this (whatever is inside) blend is great, as for its price! 27,99 PLZ (appr. 3,4 GBP) for a 0,7 l bottle!
I do not dare mowning. And as for the taste I fully agree with Petes descryption. I maybe should mention I drink whisky “on the rock” or stright only. Never mixed with cola. So, not proper Polish I think 😉


I don’t drink very often but I think a drop of this in my coffee tastes very nice ????


Normally being an Islay Single Malt Malt drinker – (Normally Bruichladdich 15 year old to be precise) I went instead looking for a cheap ‘dram’. Saw Tesco Special Reserve and thought – “If it’s that bad, I can always drown it with Coke.” But surprise surprise, it wasn’t that bad. Not much of a smell – or nose – if you want to be posh about that – but who looks at the mantelpiece when they’re stoking the fire? Possibly just a grain whisky with the tinyest touch of malt hiding in the background. Very pleasantly surprised – surprisingly smooth – a touch of still water does the trick – any more and most of the flavour is lost – the slight oilyness nicely hangs around in the mouth – very drinkable – but I do miss the Islay peat, the seaweed and the iodine. P.S. Keep away from the 10 year old Laphroaig – if you like that – go for at least a 15 year old – there will be no turning back – what a difference. Sweet dreams.


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