Aldi gin wins big in blind taste test

Aldi top the list in blind taste test

Budget supermarket Aldi can add another accolade to its name, after being given a silver medal at the International Spirits Challenge awards. Aldi's Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin retails for just £9.99 and received the award in a blind taste test.

The affordably priced spirit even beat premium brand Masons Dry Yorkshire Gin, which sells for almost five times the amount.

This isn't the first time the Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin has been praised, and this is in fact its fourth award in the last 12 months alone - having also taken Bronze at the 2015 International Wine and Spirits Competition.

The Cromwell gin is described as having a 'ripe, citrus aroma with rounded spice and a touch of juniper'.

The gin industry is certainly booming in the UK at the moment, with 49 new distilleries having opened in 2015. UK gin sales are predicted to top £1 billion for the first time ever this year.

Aldi has definitely felt the force of the UK's ever increasing gin industry, with an additional 77,000 bottles sold year-on-year.

The house gin wasn't the only Aldi alcohol to triumph at the awards. They also won a Gold medal and two Silver medals for their vodkas and liqueurs.

Aldi's Specially Selected Crème de Cassis won the gold medal. The budget liqueur beat the likes of Drambuie 15 to claim the title.

In June last year the supermarket's whisky was also praised, winning two gold medals at two separate competitions.

The Highland Black 8 year old Scotch Whisky, which retails for £12.99, won the blind taste test at the International Spirit Challenge and scored second place at the Spirits Business Scotch Whisky Masters awards.

The budget brand's whisky beat off some strong competition to win the accolade, including the £75 per bottle Glen Ord 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky.

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Aldi gin wins big in blind taste test

Pension experts at Mercer have identified the countries with the best pension systems. At number 10 is Singapore.

The system is based on the Central Provident Fund, which covers everyone in a job. Some of the cash can be withdrawn during your working life, and a prescribed minimum drawn down at retirement as an income.

Overall, Singapore scored 65.9 out of 100. It fared well on sustainability measures, and integrity, but relatively low incomes in retirement dragged its combined score down.

The UK scored 67.6 out of 100. The system was ruled to have great integrity, and good incomes in retirement. The overall scores were also up from the year earlier, as auto-enrolment was rolled out further, bringing more people into workplace schemes.

The researchers, however, were worried about how sustainable the system would be in the future. They called for an increase in minimum pensions, and added that more people ought to be encouraged into workplace schemes and persuaded to contribute more to their pension. They also wanted to see more people saving privately for their pension, and working later in life.

In Chile the state offers means-tested assistance, a mandatory centralised pension for employees to contribute to, and there are voluntary employer schemes.

Chile score 68.2 out of 100. Its highest score was for integrity, with another good mark for sustainability. Relatively low incomes in retirement let it down, and the researchers said the biggest improvements would come from raising the contribution levels.

Canada has a universal flat-rate pension - with a means-tested supplement. There’s an earnings-related pension based on lifetime earnings, plus voluntary workplace and private schemes.

It scored 69.1 out of 100. Its best score was for incomes in retirement, while it also performed well for integrity. Its only relative weak point was how sustainable it might be for the future - particularly because older people don't tend to stay in work.

Sweden has an earnings-related system with notional accounts - although this system was introduced in 1999 so it’s still in transition from a pay-as-you go system to a funded one. There’s also a means-tested top up.

Sweden was given 73.4 out of 100. It scored excellently for integrity, and well for sustainability. The overall score was brought down by incomes in retirement, and the researchers called for more workplace and private pensions.

Switzerland has an earnings-related public pension, a mandatory occupational system and voluntary private pensions.

It scored 73.9 out of 100. It fared well for integrity and reasonably well for incomes in retirement. The researchers just questioned its sustainability.

Finland has a means-tested basic state pension and a range of statutory earnings-related schemes. It scored 74.3 out of 100.

It had high integrity scores, with a less positive result for incomes in retirement, and a surprisingly low score for sustainability. The researchers called for higher minimum pensions, higher mandatory contributions and encouraging people to work longer to improve sustainability.

The Netherlands has a flat-rate public pension and quasi-mandatory earnings-related occupational schemes - which are industry-wide defined benefit schemes based on lifetime average earnings.

The system scored 79.2 out of 100. All its scores were high - particularly for the integrity of the system.

The system in Australia consists of a government scheme, a mandatory employer contribution into a pension, and additional voluntary contributions from individuals.

It benefits from the fact that all workers have been automatically enrolled in their company pension schemes for some time, so participation rates are high. The minimum contributions have also been raised recently, which means workers are building reasonable retirement incomes. It had an overall score of 79.9 out of 100, with the only question mark being over sustainability.

Denmark’s system includes a basic state pension, means-tested state top-ups, a fully funded defined contribution scheme and mandatory occupational schemes.

The researchers said it was "A first class and robust retirement income system". It scored 82.4 out of 100, with high marks across the board.

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