Monday, October 21, 2013

Have just tried - Label 5 'Classic Black'

The Label 5 is a blended Scotch whisky brand, which is owned by French company La Martiniquaise. It is one of the biggest selling Scotch brands in the world - according to figures in the latest Malt Whisky Yearbook 2014* it was in 10th position for total sales, after shifting an impressive 28 million bottles last year.  It has also picked numerous major awards, including a prestigious gold medal at this year's San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

The non age statement Classic Black is accompanied by 12 years old Extra Premium expression.  These are soon to be joined by the 18 years old Extra Rare, which was announced last week and is officially launched in Cannes, France this week.  La Martiniquaise own the Speyside distillery of Glen Moray in Elgin and it is the single malt from here that is the main component of the whiskies in the range. The brand has grown so much in recent years that La Martiniquaise have invested heavily in doubling the capacity of Glen Moray to around three million litres per annum.

Label 5 is available in over 100 countries worldwide, but its main market is France.  It can be found in supermarkets and convenience stores.  The Classic Black is bottled at 40% ABV and a bottle should cost in the region of €15-20.

Our tasting notes
The colour is a pale golden yellow and the nose is light, delicate and expressive.  The aromas that lead the way are those of malty cereals and fresh green apple.  These are followed by further aromas of crumbly brown sugar, honey, vanilla and some dried grass.  A faint earthiness and a hint of ginger can also be detected.  It is vibrant and very pleasant.

On the palate, this again feels light and vibrant.  It feels slightly thin and some youthful alcohol spirit hits the taste buds first.  Once this fades, the first note to appear is an earthy, rounded smokiness.  There was a vague hint of this on the nose, but it is much more prominent now.  This is backed up by some simple but lovely notes of barley sugar, honey, vanilla and crisp green apples.  There are further notes of toffee, sultanas and dried grass, which increases the depth of the flavour profile.  The hint of ginger from the nose appears again right at the end, as does a refreshing note of lemon zest.

The finish seems short as the sweeter, fruitier notes disappear quite quickly.  This seems a bit of a shame.  However, the subtle earthy smoky notes plus the bittersweet maltiness hang around to give a pleasant lingering end.

What's the verdict?
This is one of the nicest big-selling blends that we have sampled for a while.  Considering the cheap price the Label 5 Classic Black offers a good combination of flavours and sweetness and it is enjoyable to drink.  It is not the most complex of whiskies but would be great taken neat or over ice on a warm day, or combined with a mixer or in a cocktail.  Our experiments led us to come up with a lovely creation of Classic Black, cloudy apple juice and ice topped up with ginger ale.  Delicious.

*Source - The IWSR 2013.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Received a bottle of this for Christmas. Glad to see the positive reviews. Dewars is my go to, so will be nice to see how this compares, but I must first polish off the sampler pack of Glenmorangie. Will advise.

Anonymous said...

good price good flavor great stuff

Anonymous said...

I first came across Label five in Cape Town South Africa indeed it is the best whiskey I have ever Tasted.the only stockist I know is Liquor City.

Anonymous said...

I was amazed at the smoothness and great taste. Dewars use to be my every day scotch but has now been replaced with Label 5. Can't wait to try the 12 and 18 yr old.

Karl Runcik said...

I stumbled across this scotch, looking for a cheap alternative to my usual scotches, I was extremely apprehensive about purchasing it, given its extremely low price, but was on an higher shelf with, Johnny and dewers given the cheap price,$14. I figured I couldn't lose. Wow, I was delightfully surprised, the finish on this scotch was surprisingly light and a bit peaty. This has turned into my go to scotch. Try it you will enjoy itty.

Karl Runcik said...

I stumbled across this scotch, looking for a cheap alternative to my usual scotches, I was extremely apprehensive about purchasing it, given its extremely low price, but was on an higher shelf with, Johnny and dewers given the cheap price,$14. I figured I couldn't lose. Wow, I was delightfully surprised, the finish on this scotch was surprisingly light and a bit peaty. This has turned into my go to scotch. Try it you will enjoy itty.

Unknown said...

Smooth with a great finish , was a little hesitate because of the price, but the sales woman at total wine assured me it was high quality. I have been a fan ever since

Anonymous said...

I received a bottle as a gift. I had my doubts looking at the colour and then smelling the nose of raw young alcohol, but upon tasting, I realized how good this stuff is for a blended whisky. On par if not better than Dewar's and so much better than that piss coloured vodka, that is Johnnie Walker red. I would rather spend the 25% more for an entry single malt, but if I needed a mixing whisky for cocktails and the like for people that know no better, this is it. So I am off to make a Godfather right now.

Mike fenna said...

Label 5 is a smooth whisky but in my opinion it is a little too smooth. It leaves very little on the palate or nose to taste. Obviously everything is matter of preference. For those who like a threat of water or ice, this isn't for you. I would be grateful for a bottle as a gift but would get a bottle of Aldis black label if I had to put my hand in my pocket and was looking for quality and value