Scotch is a refined drink often sipped out of heavy glasses by one percenters lounging in leather chairs next to roaring fireplaces in their wood-paneled libraries. But at the World Whiskies Awards, a decidedly working class bottle just took top honors in the “Scotch Blended 12 Years & Under” category.
Meet Queen Margot, a scotch sold exclusively at Lidl, a German discount supermarket. A bottle will set you back £13.49, or about $17.91. That’s an insane deal for a bottle that tastes this good.
Eight years spent mellowing in oak casks makes Queen Margot nice and smooth, with “a rich sweetness and depth of flavour” that leaves a warm finish that lingers on the palette. There’s a “soft aroma of fruit” like dried apricot and plum and a bit of wood spice on the finish, thanks to the time in the barrel.
But Queen Margot isn’t even the first sub-second mortgage bottle to win in an international spirits competition. Highland Black Scotch Whisky, from Lidli competitor Aldi, took a gold medal at the Spirits Business Scotch Whiskey Masters competition last year. It retails for £13.49, or $17.25, about a third of the price of Chivas Regal 12 Year Old, another whiskey that took a gold medal in the category.
In that same competition, Aldi’s Glen Marnoch Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (retail price £17.49 or $23.23) won the only gold in its category.
Unfortunately, neither Aldi nor Lidl sell liquor in their American locations, so you’d have to factor in the price of a trip to Europe (or some shady import deal) to get your hands on a bottle.
However, the bigger lessons from this are free. Namely, more expensive does not always mean tastier in the world of spirits, and its corollary: there are some fantastic bottles of younger that you won’t have to raid the kid’s college fund to afford.