Overall rating
Whiskybase ID
Single Malt
Wallace & Young Distillers Co. (W&Y)
Bottling serie
Islay Single Malt
Stated Age
27 years old
Oak Casks
46.0 % Vol.
700 ml
Bottle code
L 43 7 6 Q3 1385 07:57 BB
Bottled for
LIDL Online Exclusive
de Germany
Added on
03 Dec 2017 7:36 pm by Noface83

Average value

€ 102.50

46 × in wishlist

327 × member ratings

983 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Ben Bracken 1990 W&Y

67 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 87.63 points

  1. hs305 scored this whisky 90 points Connoisseur

    [November, 2017] A 27-years old Islay single malt for 65 Euro sounds like a bargain...

    ...and it is, indeed. This dram is on eye-level with the 25-years old Caol Ila distillery release with a complex, balanced and flawless Islay profile for less than half of the price. That is what I call a good deal!

    In a direct head-to-head to the 2017 Caol Ila OB (WB id 103198) I prefer the OB on the nose but the Lidl Ben Bracken on both taste and finish due to the greater complexity of the longer maturation time. Hey, overall I prefer the Ben Bracken over the 2017 OB Caol Ila (but the 2018 edition of the 25-years old Caol Ila still is a little better).

    PS: As long as this is sold for 65 Euro only I suggest to buy a bottle even if you do not like this old Caol Ila profile simply because this a perfect whisky to do a very special blend created by yourself. It will add depth and interesting flavours to your beloved drams, so try to compose a blended malt of your own (you can start with very small quantities until you found your "killing recipe"). This might be a very special (and individual) christmas present to your whisky-loving friends...

    [December, 2019] I had this dram during a private vertical Caol Ila tasting session and fully confirm my old review and solid 90 points score. Beside a 1983 vintage (WB id 118872) this was the winning dram of that evening.
    • Nose
      89 89
      The colour is old gold and the nose offers a fine old Caol Ila profile that comes close to the 25-years distillery bottling. Maybe it is a little more shy than the OB but a big spheric blender's glass compensates this easily. All the adorable Caol Ila aromas are there in perfect balance and without any off-note. During breathing the nose looses some steam, unfortunately - so do the nosing experience right after serving the dram.
    • Taste
      91 91
      The taste is layered on sweet honey-sugary flavours first imbedded in strong maritime-peaty notes. Then the fruits jump in and later herbal impressions. The spices are last, as usual and the wood is perfect - not too strong, not too weak. This dram is nicely chewable and I suggest to do so for at least one minute to catch all flavours of this complex profile. No flaw or imbalance, this is the perfect Caol Ila quality that is on eye-level with the 25-years OB and it owns even some more oompf (46% abv versus 43% of the OB). What a nice surprice (for this price)!
    • Finish
      90 90
      The dram arrives warming and instantly coating on the palate without distracting moments. The finish is long and turns sweeter on more fruits with a tasty smokey ending (warm bonfire at the shoreline). Water opens up the nose further with more adorable (citric) fruits and turns the taste smoother hence even more quaffable. I like this dram both neat and a little reduced to 40% abv.

  2. Noface83 scored this whisky 88 points Specialist

    Nose: aromatic smoke (not too strong and medicinal), cinnamon and pepper, old wood, pickled apricot in alcohol, spice cake with lemon and nuts. Nice mix of old oak and aromatic smoke. For me exactly the right smoke level but maybe too soft for Islay Maltmaniacs.
    Taste: soft onset (less than 46 would have killed), more on the spicy side, peppercorns, baked apple with cinnamon sugar, warm ashes, bitter and dry oak to the rear. In the finish then warm smoke and lots of wood notes (coffee, freshly cut wood, wood polish). The finish is medium long - huge at the beginning then quickly decaying and woody.
    Has similarities (smoke and cinnamon / spice) with the Caol Ila 25 for me and is a great experience for me. Am after the watery and lax 22Y from 2016 really positively surprised and glad to have a bottle.
    • Nose
      90 90
    • Taste
      88 88
    • Finish
      88 88

  3. Nolloff scored this whisky 87 points Expert Senior

    99 Euro for a 27 years Islay whisky - unbelievable. Does it taste like an old Islay whisky? Yes. Is there any other reason to buy this specific bottle besides the price? Not really. Is it decent? Yes. Is it great? No.P.S. Does not come apart when a little water ist added which - imo  - improves the balance.

  4. peatjens scored this whisky 90 points Expert Senior

    This is a special whisky for me. Since I have friends in Germany and the whisky delivery there is usually cheaper than in Austria, 90% of the deliveries go there. Always a welcome occasion to visit friends and collect the treasures. So it was on December 23rd, 2020 and by chance my friend's parents were sitting at the dinner table. We stumbled across my whisky passion and I promptly complied with my father's request to try one and this bottling came into the glass.
    6 weeks later, my friend's father died of COVID-19. I gave the rest of the bottle to my friend as a memento. As I said, a special story for both of us. "Rudi's Choice" is written on the bottle.
    That being said, in many of the other reviews you will find the appreciation for this whisky, which I fully subscribe to.

  5. BarrelBeast scored this whisky 86 points Member Senior

    Youtube Review: https://youtu.be/5mnD_hUuRfA
    • Nose
      84 84
    • Taste
      87 87
    • Finish
      87 87

  6. markjedi1 scored this whisky 88 points Connoisseur

    Lidl Effect
    My first two experiences with Ben Bracken – the Speyside malts from 1989 and 1991 – were very good, to say the least. So you can imagine I am very eager to try this 27 years old Islay malt.
    Oh, yes, I’ve only just put my nose in the glass and the first thing that comes to mind is Caol Ila in the tropics. Kiwi, figs, agrums, but also sea salt, oyster sap and dried ham. Great herbal notes. Barbecue sauce, garden herbs, wine vinegar, broth. Now, I certainly have no certainty that this is in fact Caol Ila, but that is what my nose tells me.
    The body is a bit light, it’s true. But again wonderfully sweet on yellow fruit upholstered with notes of ashes, brackish water, woodspices and all kinds of maritime notes, while the smoke keeps getting bigger. Some mint too. Oh, so good!
    The finish is long, medicinal and salty. Salted caramel at the death.
    Fantastic Islay (and yes, I stand by my opinion of Caol Ila). How can it be that you can still find it on the shelves? Must be the Lidl effect, I suppose. No matter what distillery provided this juice: you can get it at Lidl for only 90 EUR. For a 27 years old Islay! No brainer. Thx, Gunther.

  7. MartinSchmartin scored this whisky 87 points Member Senior

    I was adviced to try this whisky and was told it's better than expected. So I hoped for a bargain – because right now this bottle is 68,23€ at LIDL. Before, I tasted three much younger Ben Brackens and they were pretty terrible. But this 27 years old didn't disappoint me at all, actually I really like it and I think I would pay 30% more without hesitating.
    • Nose
      88 88
      Smoky and fruity: campfire, bacon. Right behind the smoke there is a clear citrus note. A little later sour apple. The undefined citrus notes turn into lemon sponge cake, maybe even with a little vanilla - or maybe not, who knows :D
    • Taste
      86 86
      A strong, spicy start, which becomes very soft and round after a few seconds. Sweet with spiciness, the spiciness stays. The smoke of the nose becomes much more discreet, but the citrus fruits come out.
    • Finish
      88 88
      After you swallow the smoke reappears immediately, but the fruitiness fades into the background. Then comes the oak, which echoes with the smoke for a surprisingly long time.

  8. nhuber scored this whisky 90 points Expert Senior

    Almost 2 years later it is finally there where it should be... High 80s pointswise... Not very well liked in the beginning (think some upped their points here over time), probably because of the lidl stain... But very nice complex whisky, late 2019 for 65€ in Germany... Go get one... Or two.

  9. FritzeKrautman scored this whisky 87 points Expert Senior

    I really like the fruitiness, but the complexity is missing. Were probably only ex-Bourbon barrels. The palate is then rather less fruity, the tasted flavors are mainly attributed to the smoke. He is not a stinker, but you can tell him the quite long maturation time already.
    • Nose
      Pear, ash, leather, medical smoke that disappears over time, campfire, again fruity with passion fruit and later also citrus, a hint of vanilla
    • Taste
      it starts soft and sweet, then cold ashes, toasted bread, liquorice. The alcohol bites strongly, is also a bit peppery. He then becomes clearly bitter.
    • Finish
      The finish is quite long and a bit malty. Nuts come into their own.

  10. Helgo scored this whisky 87 points Connoisseur

    Solid, simple Islay malt, probably Caol Ila with rough edges, but unfortunately without enough depth. Absolutely okay for the price. Central notes for me are apricots and cinnamon. The wood note is a bit too strong at the top, but then sounds bearable.
    • Nose
      87 87
    • Taste
      87 87
    • Finish
      86 86


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