HAIG Gold Label
Blended Scotch Whisky
(other prices unknown)
Not available in the UK or Canada, and most difficult to find online (I couldnt even find a single good photo of a bottle), Haig Gold Label is available in limited markets(Ireland, India, Turkey, to name but a few) but does still manage to be one of the biggest selling blends in the world.
I am tasting from a glass bottled miniature.
An important family in the history of whisky, the Haig story can be found elswhere on the web; from Robert to John to Field Marshall Haig of WWI fame. What I can tell you here, however, is that bottlings before the 1980's are supposed to be very tasty while bottlings between 1980 and 2000 are said to have been of inferior quality, the "firewater" Jim Murray has cited as being partly responsible for many people fearing blends and finding solace in single malts.
Suprisingly, not a blend that starts sweet. Instead, this leads on oak, truffles, and acacia (can you tell I was playing with a Nez de Vin kit recently?) with some sulphury smoke beneath. There is sweetness in the form of pear and vanilla, but let me just make clear that the general impression is quite flat.
Comes on strong with a firm attack that lacks much flavour complexity; oak with some artificial pine scent, barley or just plain bread, and then chocolate and buttered toast.
Straightforward but charmingly quaffable. Much to respect in its well constructed balance of grain and malt, with the malt directing the flavours in spite of the 65/35 grain to malt ratio.
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