Do you think it’s worth paying premium prices for balsamic vinegar? Or do those cheaper supermarket options hit the spot? Our taste test reveals how much you’ll need to spend for a good balsamic…
Have you ever tried a 100-year-old balsamic vinegar? One of our experts brought some in when we carried out our balsamic vinegar taste test, and I’m here to tell you that it’s something a bit special.
But although I firmly believe that a drizzle of the black stuff can transform a suburban salad, would I pay more than I’d pay for a decent bottle of wine for our top-scoring Best Buy balsamic? I’m not so sure.
Balsamic vinegars taste tested
We hid the identities of the 21 balsamic vinegars on test so that our four expert tasters didn’t know which ones they were tasting, and they weren’t surprised when – during the big ‘reveal’ at the end – the cheaper vinegars from Asda, M&S, Tesco and Waitrose all scored lower than their pricier supermarket alternatives. That’s a little different to how cheap olive oils performed in our taste test last year.
Our experts were looking for a vinegar with a balanced level of acidity and natural sweetness, as well as an aroma and complex flavours from the barrels it was aged in.
But they were impressed by the price of the runner-up: the ‘gluggable’ Co-operative Truly Irresistible Balsamic Vinegar scored 78% and costs £5.24, under half the price of the top-scorer ‘dense, rich’ Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference 4 Leaf at £11.99.
And a surprise bargain was from the cheeky chappy himself: Jamie Oliver’s Balsamic costs only £2.59 and was ‘worth a look’ with its thick, intensely coloured, unusual flavour, scoring 66%.
Now, you could say that since you’d hardly drink a bottle of balsamic in a night, it’s likely worth spending a bit more for something that will last. Perhaps not the £200 for 100ml you’d pay for the 100-year-old vinegar (after all, as our expert said, this one is best experienced when kissed off the hand of your dearest friend), but maybe you’d splash out more than a tenner?
How much would you spend on a 100ml bottle of balsamic vinegar?
I don't buy balsamic vinegar (31%, 214 Votes)
Less than £2 (24%, 164 Votes)
£2 - £3.99 (24%, 160 Votes)
£4 - £5.99 (11%, 72 Votes)
£7 - £9.99 (4%, 28 Votes)
More than £14 (3%, 22 Votes)
£10 - £13.99 (3%, 20 Votes)
Total Voters: 690