An £11.99* whisky from Lidl has triumphed over more expensive rivals to win a Gold Outstanding award at the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC).
The own-brand Queen Margot 8 Year Blended Whisky was singled out by judges for its "striking nose packed with vanilla, coconut and citrus notes". Waitrose, meanwhile, received the same medal for its its £18.00 Scotch Whisky Blended 8 YO.
Altogether, Lidl picked up 14 medals at the competition, adding to a drinks trophy cupboard that must be starting to burst at the seams. Late last year, its Glen Orchy 5-year-old blended malt whisky out-performed a branded Imperial Tribute blended whisky at £125.99 a bottle and a £99.95 Prime Blue 12-year-old whisky in the latest edition of Jim Murray's Whisky Bible. The company's also picked up awards for dozens of its wines and spirits over the last few years.
After capturing the discount end of the market, Lidl has recently been trying to woo more middle-class shoppers with a focus on higher quality products. Last Christmas, for example, it started offering lobster for just £5, along with champagne for £12.99 and Scottish salmon for £2.29. More recently, it announced plans to sell a range of 48 French wines with prices ranging from £4.99 to £25.99.
"This year's spirits results have highlighted some interesting findings. The craft distillery movement is on the rise, with a surge of new producers winning awards," says IWSC general manager, Ewan Lacey.
"We also had an interesting vodka entry from the USA, Red Eye Louie's Vodquila - a hybrid spirit of vodka and tequila. It was awarded a Silver medal, proving it's no gimmick - definitely a trend to watch out for."
*The Lidl Queen Margot 8-Year Blended Scotch Whisky is on offer for £11.99 until 4 August 2014. After this date it will be back on sale for its original price of £13.29