Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Bit Of This & A Bit Of That – Label 5 Gold Heritage

Label 5 Gold Heritage
Label 5 is not the most common names that comes up in Australia when mentioning a Blended Scotch Whisky even though it is ranked in the top 10 sales of a blended whisky in the world. We have seen a rise in the brand over the last few years on shelves  locally but in asking around I have found still it can get a bit of a look over. The more common bottle you would be familiar with is the Label 5 Classic Black or the Label 5 12 Year Old. This bottling, Label 5 Gold Heritage, is yet to be seen on our shelves and is the brands most recent release. Graciously supplied to us for tasting by La-Martiniquaise, a French based group and the 2nd largest spirits company in France at this time.

If you recall La-Martiniquaise has come up before when we have reviewed launches and reviews of the Scotch Single Malt and distillery Glen Moray. La-Martiniquaise purchased Glen Moray back in 2008 from Glenmorangie, so it is no surprise when Glen Moray’s Distillery Manager Graham Coull’s name is attributed to the creation of Label 5 Gold Heritage. Graham also takes the title also as Master Blender of Label 5. I had the pleasure to speak in length with Graham Coull in August 2013 at the launch of the Glen Moray 25yo: A taste of things to come - Glen Moray 25yo Syndey Launch. Graham has been taking Glen Moray in a great direction so I recommend you keep a good eye on the brand over the coming years. If you have not tried it also I recommend delving in the Glen Moray 10yo Chardonnay Cask Matured to get a better idea of what is being offered by the distillery and the malt that makes up the bulk of the Label 5 blends.

Moving on we best look a little closer at the Label 5 Gold Heritage. There is is no question the name signifies an approach into the higher echelons of the premium blend market. The bottle is tall and angular with thick glass and an embossed crest. On opening a plastic pourer is fitted much like what we see in other premium blends. On any Dan Murphy’s shelf you will find Label 5 commonly shelved higher than most lower grade whisky blends. I can speculate when the Label 5 Gold Heritage makes it to Australia it will be sitting directly next to the Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve. Dan Murphy’s, as I understand it, is the exclusive importer of Label 5 and Glen Moray through the Woolworth’s import brand Pinnacle Liquor Group.

Other details available on the Label 5 site claim there is anything up to and over 20yo malt whiskies being blended into the mix of this product. That sounds great but the reality is that this happens all the time for many many blends and malts but it is certainly nice to know. We can also assume being a NAS (No Age Statement) that some very young whiskies also make it into the mix. Again not a big issue but certainly something to consider.

Label 5 Gold Heritage
Distiller & Blender: Label 5 / La-Martiniquaise
Location / Region: Scotland
Alcohol/ ABV: 40%

Nose: Thick, rich and sweet with a side of egg sandwiches. A bit leathery and no doubt I am getting some smokiness. Grains are prevelant and sweet while a heavy hit of alcohol burn will sting if you nose too closely or vigourously. After the fist sip though the nose burn subsides in a much more festive fruity character.

Taste: Light, fruity(ish) and exceptionally smooth at first. It easily goes down but the sweetness falls into the central back pallet before a typical blend burn seeps down the throat. A bit smokey like tabbaco smoke, a bit of citrus, a bit of spice, and a bit of wood creep. It gets watery fast and the flavour is one dimensional which is unfortunate. Not embracing to the senses, this whisky has been clearly designed this way to simply be sipped easily.

Finish: Hot at first and a bit of mousey woods develops in the palate.

Overall: I have to say not challenging and malt drinkers will be hard pressed to approve. Blend drinkers on the other hand wanting to move slightly up the ladder would appreciate what it is offering as the typical grain burn and intense sweetness is mellowed by the malts blended.

This is a blend offering smoothness over character. It is a bit of a fence sitter. If I was to give a dram 3 1/2 out of 7. It does not fall into the category of our clubs flavour profile appreciation and I fear neither that of any malt drinkers. As I said though a dedicated blend drinker would probably enjoy this.

Thank you to La-Martiniquaise for the opportunity to examine and review the Label 5 Gold Heritage. I have reserved the bottle contents for presentation at our next clubs meeting to get further input.

The Baron

D.T.W.C. was supplied a sample for review by La-Martiniquaise. All views and opinions are our own unless otherwise stated.