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Bourbon hunting in UK supermarkets - Update

Bourbon hunting in UK supermarkets - Update

2 years ago this month the Gents launched this very website. One of the first articles published on it was Bourbon hunting in UK Supermarkets, where we delved deep into which bourbons were available to the general public in five of the UK's leading supermarkets.

Last time out we were very strict in keeping to our bourbon definition, and therefore discounted any Rye whiskies and Jack Daniel’s offerings (before you start this is not the time and place to discuss whether or not it's a bourbon!). However, after much debate at Bourbon Gents Headquarters (which almost came to fisticuffs and wrestling) we have made the bold decision to now include those Ryes and brace yourself... Jack Daniels Single Barrels that were previously discounted.

 A typical UK supermarket with an old man (not Mr. Pie) clearly lost and confused as he's buying wine not whiskey

A typical UK supermarket with an old man (not Mr. Pie) clearly lost and confused as he's buying wine not whiskey

With our 2-year anniversary approaching, we thought this would be the perfect time to revisit those same five supermarkets to see if they had finally embraced the bourbon revolution and given bourbon hunters something to get excited about whilst on the weekly shop.

For some, an important factor in any spirit purchase is the pricing, so we are also showing the most up to date regular pricing (offers are often available in all locations, but be quick, stocks are not always replenished as quickly as you would like) and see how they compare with the price tags two years ago. 

So once more, let’s see what is available out there in the marketplace. This year and 1 up from 2 years ago there are now 4 bourbons available to buy in all five supermarkets. They are Bulleit, Jim Beam White Label, Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve. Surprisingly the cheapest supermarket to buy all four of these was Sainsbury's and the most expensive being Tesco.

Asda

No. of Bourbons: 13 (Up 4 from 2016)

Exclusives: Early Times Old Reserve, £20.00, Jim Beam Devil’s Cut, £23.50, Knob Creek Small Batch, £33.00, Old Forester, £31.00 and their own blended bourbon, Louisville, £14.00

Favourite New Entry: Knob Creek Small Batch, £33.00

Best Buy: Jim Beam Double Oak, £20.00

Must Always Have On Your Shelf: Wild Turkey 81 proof, £23.00

Pay Day Treat: Eagle Rare, £36.00

Own Brand: Louisville, £14.00

No. of Rye Whiskies: 4 - Bulleit, £30.00, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, £50.00, Jack Daniel’s, £32.00 and Jim Beam, £20.00

Verdict – A+ 

Take a bow Asda and go straight to the top of the class. The largest and most diverse collection of bourbons available today on the high street. Pricing is generally very competitive and they seem be regularly introducing new choices. If you fancy a Rye Whiskey on your shopping list then once again this is the place to visit with 4 different ryes available.

Morrisons

No. of Bourbons: 8 (Up 5 from 2016)

Exclusive: John Lee Reserve, £14.00

Favourite New Entry: Buffalo Trace, £23.00

Best Buy: Woodford Reserve, £30.00

Must Always Have On Your Shelf: Bulleit, £27.00

Pay Day Treat: Maker’s Mark, £30.00

Own Brand: John Lee Reserve, £14.00

No. of Rye Whiskies: 2 - Bulleit, £30.00 and Jack Daniel’s, £32.00

Verdict – C+

Morrisons came in joint second place in terms of variety of bourbons but not having a stand-alone exclusive (apart from their own) offering was a disappointment. They have though increased choices on their shelves regularly over the last 2 years and have also added rye whiskies to their inventory. 

Sainsbury’s

No. of Bourbons: 6 (Up 1 from 2016)

Exclusive:  Hudson Baby Bourbon, £30.00

Favourite New Entry: Hudson Baby Bourbon, £30.00

Best Buy: Jim Beam White Label, £15.00

Must Always Have On Your Shelf: Maker’s Mark, £30.00

Pay Day Treat: Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, £40.00

Own Brand: Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey, £13.00

No. of Rye Whiskies: 1 - Jack Daniel’s, £30.00

Verdict – C

A very much middle of the road grade once again for the giant Sainsbury’s. The inspired cheeky little introduction of the rarely spotted Hudson Baby Bourbon, and a competitively priced Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, may have just saved them from a lower mark.

Tesco

Tesco-Extra-store-in-Have-014.jpg

No. of bourbons:  8 (Down 2 from 2016)

Removed from Sale: 3 - Four Roses Small Batch, Jim Beam Devil’s Cut and Knob Creek Small Batch

Exclusives:  Old Samuel blended bourbon, £14.00

Favourite New Entry: Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, £45.00

Best Buy: Wild Turkey 81 proof, £23.00

Must Always Have On Your Shelf: Jim Beam Double Oak, £25.00

Pay Day Treat: Woodford Reserve, £30.00

Own Brand: Old Samuel blended bourbon, £14.00

No. of Rye Whiskies: 3 - Bulleit, £30.00, Jack Daniels, £30.00 and Jim Beam, £20.00

Verdict – D

Oh dear Tesco, how can you possibly reduce the number of bourbons? The Gents recommend a whole term of detention and extra homework for the entire purchasing team. You dropped Four Roses Small Batch! How could you? This is unbelievable. Your Mother was a hamster and your Father smelt of Elderberries. The only exclusive offering you have is a blended bourbon - shakes head in disbelief.

Waitrose

No. of Bourbons:  8 (Same as 2016)

Removed from Sale: 2 Hudson Baby Bourbon and Woodford Reserve Double Oaked

Exclusive: Michter’s Small Batch, £55.00

Favourite New Entry: Jim Beam Double Oak, £25.00

Best Buy: Jim Beam White Label, £14.00

Must Always Have On Your Shelf: Buffalo Trace, £23.00

Pay Day Treat: Michter’s Small Batch £55.00

Own Brand: None

No. of Rye Whiskies: 1 - Wild Turkey, £31.00

Verdict – B

Another solid score and overall a great effort. It’s always a shame when bourbons are removed from shelves, even worse when two of the Gents favourites have bitten the bullet. It’s the first time we have found Michter’s out there on the supermarket dash too. A little more revision on the Rye whiskey front wouldn’t go amiss though.

Comparison

Below you will find an up to date price comparison guide of supermarket bourbons. We have also included the prices from Masters of Malt for you to compare. Prices online are mixed when compared to the high street but you can get some bargains.  You do also have to remember the delivery charges (free if you spend over £99) but at least you can do your shopping from the comfort of your own home. 

All bottles are 70 cl in size apart from the Hudson Baby Bourbon which is 30 cl. All supermarkets and of course Masters of Malt quite often have promotional discounts, but the below prices are from the time the Gents checked the stores.  Please don’t forget all bourbons are subject to price change and availability. Happy bourbon hunting out there folks!

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Review of the Month: The Woodford Reserve review

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