Thursday, March 19, 2015

Review - Label 5 Gold Heritage

This is the newest addition to the core range of the popular Label 5 blended Scotch whisky brand.  The Gold Heritage is designed to be a premium blend and has been created by Graham Coull, the Master Blender for Label 5.  It includes a complex mix of whiskies including single malts up to the age of 20 years old.  The Label 5 brand is owned by French drinks company La Martiniquaise. They also own the Glen Moray single malt distillery, which is located in Elgin in the Speyside region of Scotland.

Label 5 is one of the biggest selling Scotch brands in the world - according to figures in the Malt Whisky Yearbook 2014* it was in 10th position for total sales, after shifting an impressive 28 million bottles in a year. The Gold Heritage sits alongside the Label 5 Classic Black, a 12 years old and an 18 years old expression. The single malt from Glen Moray is the main component of the whiskies in the range. Label 5 has grown so much in recent years that La Martiniquaise have invested heavily in doubling the capacity of Glen Moray with further works planned.

The Gold Heritage was launched in the USA last Autumn and was followed by Australia and China in early 2015.  It comes packaged in a gold bottle and has been bottled at 40% ABV.  The recommended retail price of $40 USD.

Our tasting notes
The colour is deep golden yellow and the nose has immediate aromas of dried fruits and malted cereals.  The cereal gives a bittersweet edge that compliments the distinct raisin, sultana and candied orange peel notes.  Underneath are further aromas of caramel, vanilla, honey and plenty of cinnamon.

On the palate the whisky has an initial sweet note that is most reminiscent of fudge or crumbly brown sugar.  This evolves to include the juicy dried fruits from the nose - the raisins, sultanas and candied orange are all present, plus some dried apple.  These characteristics are backed up by some vanilla and warming wood spices, especially cinnamon, plus an earthy ginger note.  The bittersweet malty cereals are also present but the flavour seems more understated than the aroma.  Further sweetness develops in the form of a golden syrup-like note.

The finish is of decent length and the bittersweet cereals, warming wood spice and ginger notes lasting longest.  The sweet sugary and fruity elements longer but eventually fade to give the whisky a delicious drying conclusion.

What's the verdict?
The Gold Heritage is a very pleasant whisky and offers plenty to the consumer.  It has a lovely balance of sweetness, fruitiness, spicy and bittersweet notes.  These add quality, depth and complexity that can be missing from blended whiskies at this price point.  We hope that this will be extended to other markets but if you are in Australia, China or the USA then we highly recommend that you find a bottle.  It is delicious and very enjoyable.

* Source - the IWSR 2013

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