Scotch Whisky Awards give top medals to Lidl and Aldi bargains

The award-winning whisky for under £15

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whiskey in glass on wooden table

There are sales on in the Whisky aisles of a number of supermarkets at the moment - offering top brands for as little as £24 and savings of as much as 29%. You'd be forgiven for thinking that these offers can't be beaten, but you'd be wrong, because deal hunters know there are award winners available at a fraction of the price.

The sales are impressive - and if you are after a specific brand, Tesco and Sainsbury's may well be offering the deal of the year (£10 off a £35 Glenfiddich, for example). However, if what you're really after is a great tasting whisky at a stunning price, then a sale is not the only answer.

Each year, the International Spirits Challenge tests more than 1,000 entries to identify medal winners in each category. In the Scotch whisky category, nobody will be surprised to find that some of the best-known brands - often with sky-high price tags - picked up gold and silver medals.

What's less well known is that there are a number of supermarkets taking medals for their own brands - from the traditional players to the discount brands.

Lidl: cheapest gold and silver winners

The huge success story has to be Lidl, which picked up two gold medals and six silver medals. It also takes the title of the cheapest supermarket whisky to win gold - as the Glen Orchy 5 Year Blended Malt Scotch Whiskey costs just £13.29.

Impressively Lidl can also lay claim to the cheapest whisky in the Silver category: Lidl Queen Margot 3 Year Blended Scotch Whiskey, which sells for just £11.49.

In fact, almost all of the award-winners at Lidl come in under £20 - well south of the cheapest sale prices for the premium brands. The Queen Margot blended whiskies are the cheapest, at £11.49 for the three year, £12.89 for the five year and £12.99 for the eight year. This is followed by the Glen Orchy at £13.29 and Abrachan at £17.99.

The only single malt in Lidl also comes in shy of £20 with the Ben Bracken 8 Year Speyside Single Malt selling for £18.99 (although it's only available in Scotland).

Aldi: Cheapest single malt

Aldi, meanwhile, can lay claim to the cheapest award-winning supermarket single malt. It picked up two silver medals - for Glen Marnoch Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Glen Marnoch Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (both priced at £17.99).

Traditional supermarkets also produced some decent own-brand winners at impressive prices. Special mention goes to the Co-op, which sells its silver-medal-winning Finest Blended Scotch Whisky for £12.99, and its gold-medal-winning 5 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky for £17.99. Asda also deserves credit for its £16.50 silver-medal-winning McKendrick's.

Own-brands with bigger price tags

It doesn't pay, however, to assume that own brands are always the cheapest. Plenty of the winners came in over the £20 mark. The silver medal Co-op 12 Years Old Single Highland Malt is priced at £22.00, while the Tesco Finest range offers two silver medal whiskies for £25 each - 12 Years Old Single Highland Malt and 12 Years Old Single Speyside Malt. Marks & Spencer, meanwhile has its own silver medal 12 Year Old Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky for £25.

The battle of the priciest own brands came down to two silver-medal winners: the Lidl Glenalba 22 Year Sherry Cask Finish Blended Scotch Whisky at £29.99, and the Marks & Spencer Glenfarclas 2003 10 Year Old at £30.

But what do you think? Are you tempted to try an award-winning bargain? Or will you be stocking up on discounted brands?

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