David Beckham has made his mark in the world of whisky with the launch of Haig Club. A light and sweet grain whisky, Haig Club is aimed at drinkers who have yet to be won over by whisky’s charms. Named after John Haig, the founder of Cameronbridge distillery (where the whisky is made), Haig Club is superb over ice, in long drinks or in short cocktails – it’s an easy-drinking dram that will win anyone over.
Haig Club is an entry-level whisky by any possible standard. At first glance it is a neutral whisky; there’s a delicate malty nose, a small amount of oak, and a little richness in the tongue at the start. It’s light, sweet and enjoyable, but that doesn’t make it any less passionate about its flavour. I’m not usually a big bloke for ‘nutty’ whisky notes, but Haig Club makes me a weak man, for there’s a hearty nuttiness to it. It adds a weirdly savoury quality to an otherwise light and mild whisky, and it works.
This is a whisky that stirs things up in a wonderfully masochistic manner. I’m a big fan of sweet whisky, but if I haven’t had a sweet drink in 24 hours I start to get weak at the knees for the stuff. My craving for something sweet is nearly matched by my craving for something savoury – but those two desires almost never intersect. Haig Club is a whisky that satisfies both urges; sweet, light and drinkable, but with this weirdly warm and nutty edge. It’s utterly brilliant.
As flavoured whisky goes, Haig Club is a fantastic contender. An easygoing beat on the inside, with a mellow and flavourful edge on the outside. It’s not my favourite whisky in the world, but it’s a great place to start for those new to whisky.
Ingredients: Juniper berries, whisky malt, maize, and small amounts of rye and wheat.
Colour: Warm honey hue.
On the nose: A neutral start, with hints of citric fruit, and a smooth touch of oak. Bright and fresh, it’s a fairly blank slate, but a pleasant one.
On the palate: Subtle oak, thin malt, and a touch of spice. This is an easy-drinking dram, with enough for the fans of malt, and enough to bring new converts to the fold.
Finish: Medium length, with a hint of oak and a hint of spice. Warm and smooth, the faintest of alcoholic burn.
There are few better places to purchase Haig Club than duty free. There are also a few select British stores that sell it at a very high price. It can also be found on many online stores. It’s fairly difficult to track down at most times of the year, although it is available at around £30 per bottle in some stores.
80cl bottle. A cork stopper, which is not glued. Fairly plain label. A solid presentation overall, but definitely one geared towards the airport shop and not the saloon bar.
A fantastic whisky for those who want to try whisky, but don’t want to dive into the strong flavoured drams quite yet. For those who consider themselves whisky snobs, it’s likely not suitable, but this is no bad thing: instead of just talking down to new drinkers, Haig Club helps to win them over.
Phil: “I liked the sweetness, but I like the savoury edge even more. It’s not a sophisticated whisky by any means, but it’s a tasty dram”
Simon: “Haig Club is a great stepping stone into whisky. It might not be sophisticated, but it’s pleasant”
Jim: “Savoury, sweet and unique. This whisky is absolutely brilliant, and raises my sights considerably. I don’t think I can rate it low enough”
It’s a fairly unique distillery, for the warehouses are open to the elements on the northern and southern sides of the site. This enables winds to enter the warehouses, which stirs the whisky in the casks. The winds are thought to speed up the maturation process, allowing the whisky to be produced at around 10 years of age. It’s an interesting process, and one that is said to produce a very delicate whisky.
Colour: Bright, white gold glow.
On the nose: A slight oakiness, heavy citrus zest and a fruity burst of banana and pear. There’s quite a lot of alcohol on the nose, and it’s hard to detect any other notes within the cask.
On the palate: Clean, light and creamy. Good amount of vanilla, and a distinct sherry influence. The mature bananas return.