Some people think I am a single malt snob. I am certainly not. I might have been biased against blends when I started my whisky journey 10 or so years ago, but I’ve grown older and smarter through the years. Yes, I do get to try some ultra rare expensive and old single malts, but I also get to try Blended whisky, and i love it. Blended whisky accounts for about 94% of all scotch sales, and it is the bread and butter if the scotch industry. Without it, there will be no single malt, as most distilleries sell most of their malt to blenders, which in turn produce most of the whisky drunk internationally. Blended whisky is important, and some of it is very good. I don’t pretend it’s all good, but I do enjoy a drop of blended whisky from time to time, and I feel very good about it. Malt snobs, should probably stop reading now, but I do hope they continue on reading, and give blends a try. We all should.
OK, now after this righteous preface, let’s continue and speak about the whisky at hand : Level 5 ‘Heritage Blend’.
I must admit this is the first time I’m tasting any of the Level 5 whiskies. The basic line is readily available in Israel, but so far I’ve not gotten to try it, and was quite happy about a bottle popping up for review (thank you guys for the generous sample by the way!). This gave me a reason to dig and see what’s and who is behind Level 5…
About Label 5 :
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 ( it was in 10th position for total sales, after shifting an impressive 28 million bottles in 2014. It seem it has also won a few medals but since we all know what those usually mean (read: nada!) I won’t go into this.. Currently they offer the basic Label 5, this expression, a 12 year old blend and a 18 year old blend.
Label 5 “Gold Heritage”
The PR Blurb goes :
LABEL 5 has expanded its range with this new expression: LABEL 5 Gold Heritage. Graham Coull, LABEL 5 Master Blender, crafted a unique and rich whisky. LABEL 5 Gold Heritage is a rich blend of exceptional whiskies that includes malts aged of more than 20 years. Created with passion and care, LABEL 5 Gold Heritage presents a unique profile which lies between the smoky and peated flavours of the old malts whiskies and the creamy vanilla notes of the grain whiskies. The smooth character which is the trademark of LABEL 5 whiskies has been accentuated with subtle woody hints and spicy notes.
The packaging echoes the iconic LABEL 5 Classic Black and conveys a premium look through the use of the gold and brown colours. The packaging reflects perfectly the warm and inviting atmosphere of whisky tasting moments.
Nose: Sweet and malty with some stewed apples and chocolate up front. A touch of citrus (think orange peel) and spice and maybe some alcohol bite. If you close your eyes you can even detect the slightest trace of smoke.
Palate: Rather sharp on entry with ginger And a grainy note. Lots of spice and cereal as well as vanilla and hints of smoke.
Finish: Cereal. Oak. Quite dry
This is a rather nice Blended whisky. It offers a rather balanced profile of sweet, smoke (a bit) and fruity cereal flavours. Clearly there is some young grain whisky inside, but all in all, it makes for a rather enjoyable dram, with or without ice , and would do well in cocktails too. Nothing spectacular, but solid blending work..