Blended and supermarket own-label whiskies have a few things in common. There is an assumption that they are (a) cheap, and (b) rubbish.
While it’s undeniably true that they tend to be cheaper like-for-like than single malts from named distilleries it certainly isn’t true to say that they’re all rubbish. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the ones I’ve tried – Waitrose‘s trio of single malts were pretty decent if unspectacular, and even Tesco’s 3 Year Old Special Reserve (curiously, one of my more popular posts of 2012!) is perfectly drinkable.
Asda have decided to head firmly for the premium end of the own-label market with the arrival of Tasgall – a 30 year old blend of Highland and Speyside malts and Lowland grain whiskies, currently selling at a reasonable-sounding £60, which is reviewed here. There is also a slightly cheaper 25 year old version available, at £50.
The nose is sweet and soft, filled with gently spiced honey and a touch of ryegrass – there’s something mildly bourbon-y about it. Water reduces the sweetness a touch, but it’s still gently spiced and a lot of raw oak is revealed with little hints of vanilla.
In the mouth an initially sticky sweet honey is quickly joined by rich old oak tannins that balance the sweetness perfectly. There are rich fruitcake spices running through it, giving a delicious finish that doesn’t overlinger. Watered, the flavours are all somewhat muted – the richness is lost without much to take its place.
Definitely one to enjoy neat, I love this whisky. It’s rich, smooth and very approachable and, as my tasting notes say, fantastically drinkable. It doesn’t particularly taste its age, and so perhaps the price is harder to justify – at £60 it earns 4 stars; if it was £15 cheaper, it would be 4.5
Many thanks to Asda for providing this whisky to sample.