We first heard of the existence of a new whisky to be launched by Diageo earlier this year in April, and later got a whiff – and taste – of Haig Club at an exclusive preview in September when global whisky ambassador Ewan Gunn swung by town to quietly introduce the new spirit around the world before its official launch.
The single grain Scotch whisky, developed in partnership with football icon Beckham and entrepreneur Simon Fuller, was finally announced in October and is now gradually being made available around the world. It was soft-launched in travel retail at DFS in recent months, and even made an appearance at the recent Singapore F1. Since then it’s crept into some bars here in Singapore – Bacchanalia, Kinki, Manhattan Bar at The Regent, Pelican, Cook and Brew at The Westin, Match and Bang Bang, Fenix, and Empire – all before its official launch.
Well, D-Day is finally here – its launch party is this Friday, to be exact.
But more about Haig Club. The latest product to come out of House of Haig, Scotland’s oldest grain whisky dynasty with a history of some 400 years, is created by master blender Chris Clark and is made using a process that combines grain whisky from three cask types – refill, American oak and rejuvenated casks. Haig Club is supposed to exude butterscotch and toffee notes for an “ultra-smooth taste” that Diageo believes can be enjoyed by whisky enthusiasts but also those who’ve always wanted to try whisky but have yet to do so. Even respected whisky authority Dave Broom has described it as “a hugely versatile spirit” that can make you “forget everything you thought you knew about Scotch” (although most hardcore whisky stalwarts would find that rather improbable, especially after a few drams).
If you’re wondering about the single grain nomenclature, it simply means the liquid – that includes spirit distilled from grain other than malted barley – comes from a single distillery.
“Haig Club is designed to be different,” said Kathy Parker, Senior Vice President for Haig Club. “Historically single grain whisky has been in the shadow of single malts and blended scotch, but Haig Club represents a new direction in scotch whisky, which brings single grain scotch to the forefront.”
The blue square Haig Club bottle is supposed to draw on a history of innovative bottles produced by the House of Haig, and inspired by the tradition of blenders using blue tasting glasses so the spirit can be reviewed on aroma and taste alone.
Already available in bars, restaurants and retail stores in the United Kingdom, Haig Club will be rolling out over the next few weeks in China, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and the United States, expanding to additional markets in the near future.
official tasting notes: HAIG CLUB
nose A nose of butterscotch, honey and dried tropical fruits with mild pepper and light oak.
palate As nose, plus creamy notes of vanilla and charred/roasted wood bourbon character coming through with body.
finish Dark dried fruit, vanilla, bourbon style cask richness, sweet vanilla, creamy.