Scotsmac – A Blend Of Mature British Wine with the flavours of Fine Malt Whisky – £3 (about $6) for 700ml
On my recent trip to Scotland I came across a bottle of an alcoholic beverage that bemused me no end. I was wandering around a supermarket in the fortified wine section, looking for some dry Marsala to make turkey gravy, when my eyes fell upon what looked to be a bottle of inexpensive Scottish whisky.
Well, it certainly looked Scottish, what with its packaging of cute little thistles, and picture of a lonesome castle by a loch, and the name… what could be more Scottish than Scots – Mac. Closer inspection revealed something much more curious… it was what appeared to be a whisky-fortified wine? WTAF?
Scotsmac is, as the label proclaims, a blend of mature British wine and fine malt whisky. For the record, I have also discovered labels without the “mature” and “malt” descriptors, and whiskey spelled with an “e”, so I guess that they change the recipe/labelling according to the availability of said ingredients?
British Wine, for those of you unaware of the term, bears no relation whatsoever to English wine, some of which is garnering some stellar reviews and recommendations. No, British Wine is a term used to describe an alcoholic beverage that is made in Britain by fermenting grape or indeed any other kind of juice or concentrate from anywhere in the world.
At the bottom of the front label it is stated that Scotsmac is “Based upon an original recipe”.
You bet it is.
Who in their right mind would think to fortify a British wine, or a wine of any sort for that matter, with whiskey or whisky, whether it be a fine malt or not? I mean, that is just so wrong in so many, many ways. When one looks at the facts, this stuff is an utter abomination.
In doing some research on Scotsmac I discovered that it has actually been available for decades, going back to the 60s, and so I was slightly confused as to why it had never crossed my horizon previously during my first 24 years in the UK. It then dawned on me that I had never seen it upon a shelf, but had spied it many a time crushed underfoot in the gutters of Edinburgh, Glasgow, and London, the bottle’s broken glass clinging to its tattered, soggy, ersatz whisky label. Yes, Scotsmac falls into the same category as Thunderbird, as it is a favoured tipple of many a gentleman of the street.
So how does it taste?
Well… if you are the kind of person who likes to sniff their hand after filling up at the gas/petrol station, then Scotsmac is definitely for you. The palate is almost exactly what one would expect, akin to a mistaken pour of industrial Pinot Grigio into a tumbler of the very cheapest of blended whisky… then imagine adding two tablespoonfuls of high-fructose corn syrup coupled with the the white hot burn of 15% of rough and raw ethanol. Expect a prolonged finish of whisky-induced reflux. Yes, it really is that vile.
Avoid at all costs.
Zero apples out of five.
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And sometimes he suffers so as you don’t have to.
WHY CAN I NOT GET SCOTSMAC ANYMORE IN SUPERMARKETS , HAVE YOU GONE OUT OF BUSSINESS…?.
I came on this site. Asking the same question. It’s not in Asda or Morrison’s anymore
I bought one today from Tesco. I wish that I didn’t I hate my curiosity
if you put a bit of ;lemonade in it its a good drink ive drank it for years
only a glass full when i have had a tipple the thing is people are drinking it straight i love it but cant get it no more any where but i will try tesco tomorrow and see if they have it unless my daughter brings me some from scotland if she can fnd any where before coming home thnx ali for telling us its in tesco
i used to get one from aldi called golden mac same stuff but even they stopped oh well we can only look for it
I’m looking for it too it helps with a head cold
Hi can you order this on line please
Hi, Amanda. You may well, but not from us, I’m afraid. We’re just an online magazine. Cheers.
Sorry I’m a bit late to the party but I was googling Scotsmac today as I used to run a large online drink business several years ago and have a case of 6 Scotsmac hanging around in my storage unit. If you are interested I would be keen to get rid of it so make me an offer as I genuinely want to clear it.
I will buy it
please contact me 07785368305..I will buy them
Just tried texting you but I am unable to send due to an undeliverable message. Is the number correct.
Do you have an email address
Can I possible have one bottle please? Cant get them anywhere for my dads fathers day present.
Hi do you still have any Scotsmac left
The author of the article above said Scotsmac went back into the 1960s, which is true but back then it was far from the drink he described; back then it really was quite good and very good value.
As a teen, when I curled up with a good book it was my tipple of choice. In those days it arrived as a sweet or a dry version with different coloured labels. The sweet was horrible but speaking as an early Chablis drinker, the dry version with a blue label (I think) hit the spot.
It was available by the glass in pubs and clubs. I know this because my father was a drayman for Warwicks and Richardsons, a small brewery in Newark and Scotsmac was available through the brewery, taking advantage of a vigorous tv advertising campaign at the time.
Also advertised was the competition brand Clan Dew but that was too sweet and never achieved the popularity of the dry Scotsmac. Sweet drinks were commonly available “for the ladies” in those days and most breweries produced a range of sweet stouts and heavy ales that were as nutritious as a bowl of thick soup and even one of the most popular drinks was much sweeter then than today – those 6 ounce bottles of Babycham were drunk by the caseful, both straight but often fortified by a tot of brandy.
Scotsmac unfortunately disappeared from the market for a time and when it came back it had gained an upmarket label but was an awful drink and it is unsurprising it was so unpopular.
These days if I want a whisky mac as a winter warmer, if there is no Navy rum in the house, it is whisky and Stones ginger wine and 20 seconds in the microwave.
This may well be the best comment / reply we’ve had at GFR in the 10 years we’ve been posting. Respect.
Thank you Malcolm. I don’t receive many compliments for my efforts, people usually say I waffle too much.
Brevity wasn’t fashionable when I was at school and I prefer not to present bare facts but to try and add a little pertinent detail.
I was discussing Scotsmac, googled it and found your comment in which I am entirely in agreement. As a 16-year-old you, let astray by being a member of my local brass band in Musselburgh, the fishmonger James Banks used to sell small bottles of this without too many questions. I recently saw the newer version on the shelf for a few pennies and tried it. It was disgusting. It is not a false memory to recall that the original was a decent drink. Original bottles say made from Scottish whisky and Scottish wine and had a proof of 31%. It was smooth even to a 16-year-old. I now have a whisky investment business and tour company and Scotsman followed Rusty Nails were My introduction to the real stuff.
Thanks for making the effort Graham – I don’t feel as lonely now; I was beginning to feel as though I was the only one with a long memory.
I guess it is too much to expect somebody to reintroduce that original drink…
I can remember this. My partner asked about this the other day as he had just heard about this. Anyone know where I can buy a bottle?
I purchased may be 1 of the last bottles of scotsmac in circulation 2 weeks ago, as it was discontinued in 2018 .The shop owner said to me at the till “oh is that the last 1 on the shelf ? I’ll have to order more ” , I was thinking “good luck with that pet “,and kept my mouth shut £7.19p what a bargain considering I’ve been searching for 3 years to find 1 ,it was very dusty lol and it’s still unopened.