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24 November 2014

New: Haig Club Single Grain Scotch Whisky

Hi. I'm David Beckham. See how handsome I am. Drink my whisky And you might become handsome just like me.

So David Beckham graced us with his regal presence to launch a brand new whisky. Perhaps officially putting us down in the whisky map.. or not... but does it matter? Yes. Yes it does.

Most of the stuff you'll read about the local launch was unfortunately, mostly about David Beckham this and David Beckham that... hardly anything about the whisky, but I WANTED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE WHISKY!

Truth be told, I'm not sure how Beckham or even Fuller is associated with whisky. But maybe I'm just silly like that. 

Anyhoo, I digress. To cut through the clutter, here is some info about the Haig Club whisky which I've compiled from international press releases & websites. You're welcome! 

What is it?
1. It is a scotch: This means that it came from Scotland and abides by Scotland's whisky regulations which states, among other requirements, that it must be matured for at least 3 years in an oak barrel... in Scotland, of course.
2. Grain Whisky: basically means it made from a combination of grains - like wheat, barley, oats rye, etc.... In Haig Club's case, only 10% malted barley is used. Wheat makes up of the balance 90%.
3. SINGLE grain whisky: it's single not because it's unmarried. It's single because all the stuff inside the bottle came from a one distiller.
4. It is also a NAS whisky: No Age statement. It doesn't proudly state how old is the youngest liquid inside, but because  it's a Scotch, you know by default that the youngest liquid inside is at LEAST 3 years old.

A marks the spot.
Where did it come from?
Haig Club is made in Cameronbridge distillery, located at a village in the region of Levenmouth in Fife, Scotland. It all sounds very LOTR-ish but that's Gaelic for you I guess. If you're anything like me and have no clue where these locations are, here's a map I've cropped and pasted here, just for you. Just move your eyeballs a little.

I've never heard of Haig or its distillery. New in the market?
The distillery, opened in 1824, is supposedly THE OLDEST grain whisky distillery in Scotland, and is currently (and maybe) the largest. 

The Haig family is likely to also be Scotland's oldest whisky family with more than 350 years of whisky heritage. Someone from the family is said to have founded the ancestor of what is today's whisky distillery.

Here's an interesting article about the Haig family. How factually accurate it is I leave it to your to decide k? Click!

The distillery has been around since 1824?!?! Why have I not heard of it before?
Yes you may have. If not you, perhaps your parents or grandparents - in the form of the Dimple. Not that cute little beauty sunken hole in your cheeks when you smile, Dimple was of one of the earliest whiskies by Haig. The dimple bottle design is actually trademarked and yes, they do pride themselves of innovative bottle designs. Check out the Dimple range via MasterofMalt - Click

So what's with the Haig Club's bottle design? I thought it was a new extra large sized cologne by Ralph Lauren.
Apparently the design was inspired by the tradition of blenders using blue tasting glasses so that only the smell and taste of the whisky comes through, masking the look of the liquid. I lifted this info from the press release...  I can't find anywhere else in the Internet that concurs with this statement. 

Spot the odd one out.
They say not to judge a whisky by its bottle. So tell me about the liquid inside it.
So there's 10% malt, and 90% wheat which are matured in a mix of:
- refill casks which has held bourbon and scotch a few times
- fresh bourbon barrels - most flavour comes from here
- rejuvenated casks - the spice is from here.

It is 40% ABV strong... common among whiskies.

What does it taste like?
In their own words:
"gentle and clean, and has some green grassy sweetness to it.
also has a little bit of depth and complexity to it as well.
a lot of butterscotch sweetness, and interestingly, coconut and brazil nut notes
green grassy freshness.
an interesting spiciness, and some oakiness"
IMHO - Young. Grassy. Sweet. Rough. Spicy. Very light.

How do I drink it?
Just like how you would your whisky. But there are also quite a few suggested serves/cocktails to be found if you Google enough - suggesting that perhaps Haig Club is best for cocktail mixing. I've collated the recipes right here - you're welcome!

1) The Traveller's Cocktail created by Iain McPherson, bartender and owner of Panda & Sons in Edinburgh.
2) 3 of bartenders from 3 of Edinburgh bars prepare 3 cocktails with Haig Club.
3) The Brooklyn Club by Kyle Jamieson, bartender at The Devil's Advocate in Edinburgh.

More recipes from its official website:
1) Haig Club New Old Fashioned
2) Haig Club Ginger Smoke Stack
3) Haig Club Green Tea & Grain
4) Haig Clubhouse Soda
5) Haig Clubman

Haig Club's official cocktails. We look delicious. Drink us.
How can I get it, and how much is it?
Internationally launched on 6 October and finally reached Malaysia on 12 November 2014.

It's  available in selected duty free & retail and I believe it can cost you about close to RM200ish is RM197 for Duty Free, and is likely to set you back to more than RM300++ on retail.

At time of publication, I'm still waiting for confirmation on prices from Diageo Malaysia, friends, family and any tom, dick or harry who have seen the bottles in KLIA, or at any bars/shops. If you have a picture of the price tag, feel free to leave me a comment.

Should I get it?
Strip away all the noise and pizazz from its world famous ambassadors and you have a bottle of whisky which is, while decent, a little too pricey for me to afford for frequent consumption.

At this point, it's worth to note that grain whisky is usually used to create blended, american and canadian whiskies. It is hardly (if ever!) bottled on its own. So this whisky is unique like that.

Other stuff:
Here's a clip of Jimmy Choo inviting Beckham for a bit of cuti-cuti Malaysia. I love this uncle (choo I mean) and he's just one of the very few famous Malaysians I genuinely root for. So I'm using this as an excuse to feature him on the blog.

Here's the extended 1.33 mins ad, which is apparently shot by Guy Ritchie. Warning: Beckham shows up only halfway into the ad... around 0.50. But he makes it up for it by looking annoyingly dapper in a dark green velvet suit. Quite drool-worthy, if you're the sort who's into him.

For more & Sources:
The Star:
Official website:
Haig Club on FB:
Diageo official Press Release:

Image sources: Dailymail, Haig Club's FB.