Monday, October 21, 2013
Have just tried - Label 5 'Classic Black'
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.