Review: Haig Club Clubman

Category: Single grain scotch whisky

Origin: Cameronbridge Distillery

Bottling: Diageo

ABV: 40%

Cost: £23.33 from Master of Malt

Haig Club Clubman

What they say:

Haig Club™ Single Grain Scotch Whisky expands range with new innovation in partnership with David Beckham

AUGUST 3, 2016: Following the successful launch of HAIG CLUB™ in 2014, Diageo, the world’s leading premium drinks business together with global icon David Beckham and British entrepreneur Simon Fuller, today introduce Haig Club™ Clubman – a new Single Grain Scotch Whisky variant from Haig Club.

Haig Club Clubman inherits the same bold and progressive spirit as Haig Club – designed to be different, stylish and modern whilst incorporating the House of Haig’s almost 400 year heritage. The inspiration for the name can be found in advertising materials dating back to the 1920s, in which Haig was advertised as “The Clubman’s Whisky”.

Haig Club Clubman will be available across GB from August at a recommended retail price of £25. The new Scotch is intended as a permanent addition to the brand. Further markets to be the subject of future announcements.

Ronan Beirne, Global Marketing Director for Haig Club commented: “Clubman aligns with our long-term ambition to offer a stable of Haig Club expressions at various price points to match different occasions and consumer tastes.

“We are pleased that Haig Club has helped to place grain whisky back on the map and become one of the most talked about whiskies in the world. Out of this success, the time is right to introduce a new edition. Haig Club Clubman will enable us to continue to drive the vibrancy and momentum of the Scotch Whisky category, in line with the brand’s strategy.’’

Master Distiller and Blender Chris Clark has applied his over 30 years of experience to create the Haig Club Clubman liquid, seeking to make a Scotch Whisky with the perfect combination of distillery character and American Oak influence. He has matured Haig Club Clubman exclusively in American Oak casks that have previously held Bourbon, allowing the sweet, gentle Single Grain Scotch Whisky from Cameronbridge to interact with the vanilla, butterscotch and sweet toffee flavours found in the ex-bourbon casks. The result is a wonderfully smooth, sweet and enjoyable Scotch Whisky.

Diageo Global Whisky Master Ewan Gunn said: “Whilst Haig Club Clubman is delicious straight-up or on the rocks, the perfect way to enjoy this Scotch Whisky is with cola. The sweet, vanilla and coconut flavours combine perfectly with the sweet caramel of cola, creating an approachable and delicious drink which is refreshing in taste and perfect in its simplicity. If you already love Scotch then you’ll enjoy this combination of flavours and if you’re new to Scotch this is the ideal introduction.”

The new bottle which retains the signature Haig Club blue glass and the distinctive square style is elongated creating a new aesthetic and stand-out silhouette.

Brand partners David Beckham and Simon Fuller are delighted that consumer response to the award-winning Haig Club brand means that Diageo is now able to launch Haig Club Clubman.

Beckham commented: “Working closely with Diageo, we look forward to welcoming Clubman into the Haig Club family. From its earliest days, Scotch Whisky has attracted people from all over the world with its sophistication, style and distinctive array of flavours. We want to continue in this spirit, bringing to market a special new whisky and introducing new fans to this incredible industry.”

Simon Fuller said: “Haig Club was a game-changer for the category and Clubman reflects ours and Diageo’s shared goal of continuous commitment to evolving a home-grown brand that breaks the rules of Scotch. We are excited to officially launch Clubman and welcome the next chapter for the House of Haig.”

Haig Club invites people to drink responsibly with style and in moderation. Responsible drinking is an integral part of the Haig Club philosophy and as part of his partnership with the brand, David Beckham supports this philosophy and our shared belief in quality over quantity.

What I Say:

Generally when a whole bottle of whisky turns up on our doorstep for review I either thank graciously the small-time producer who is so proud of their new product or question the large multi-national and wonder ‘is this a bribe – when sending me a miniature would have sufficed?’. However in this instance I had to acquiesce that this release is aimed at the budget end of the market with a highly competitively priced RRP (that sending a mini would have cost almost as much) and also this product was delivered to me with the instructions to sample it with cola as this is squarely aimed at bar/cocktail culture as a mixing whisky.

Unfortunately I haven’t quite had the time to play around with the Clubman in some cocktails but I hope to soon and add a little twist to our reviews with some new features. However I did as principle sample this one straight and was rather pleasantly surprised with what I got.

Colour:

Champagne gold (5/20), quick medium-sized tears, slightly oily leaving medium legs

Nose:

Light and fragrant on the nose as one would expect from a single grain whisky, perfumed and sweet with a distinct impact from the ex-bourbon cask maturation, vanilla icing, light vanilla sponge or fairy cakes, creamy, a slightly chalky/dusty quality with hints of icing sugar and milled cereal flour, crème anglaise, cereal grains, a little spirity and some spices with a touch of zesty ginger, cinnamon, aniseed and nutmeg this reminded me of Fireball gobstopper sweeties from my childhood.

Taste:

Initially smooth and light, a slightly sugary citric zest develops hinting again at the grain whisky, becomes cornflakes and popcorn cereal with a little sticky-back plastic and toffee backbone to it. Light to medium bodied, some tart apples (unsweetened), vanilla essence & cake batter.

Finish:

Medium, The tartness persists with hints of bitterness and sweet caramel & toffee

Overall:

I struggled to find flaw in this whisky, sure it is single grain, not as young and spirity as I may have been led to believe.  In fact the residual spirit, bitter and spice really works well in combination with the mass of sweet vanilla and ex-bourbon cask influence leading to a rather enjoyable experience drinking this neat. Furthermore I can easily see how this would work well in mixers and cocktails as it was well-structured but not over-powering in its qualities. I enjoyed this a lot more than the original Haig Club release and the RRP sweetens the deal. Perhaps this should have been their inaugural release?

Score: 80/100

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