What a load of…….

Golden Balls

Ooops, wrong golden balls
Ooops, wrong golden balls

So picture the scene, there I am reading my Facebook, catching up on the news and I come across a post from (@themisswhisky), this is a great post and you should read it, meantime I’ll fill you in.  Diageo have a new release, and it’s not just any old release, oh no my friend, it’s a grain.  Not that remarkable you think, oh contraire, and I’ll tell you why, well I will in a minute, let’s talk about the product itself first.

It’s a grain, you don’t like grains?  Really, well I’ll let you in on a little secret neither did I, of course I had never tried one, but I, and I can barely get the confession past my lips, but I Kirsty Clarke was a whisky snob!  If it was a blend I didn’t like it, if it was a grain I didn’t like it, I wasn’t trying it, no, nope you can’t make me so there!

Princess Kirsty had decided that it was only the finest single malt to meet my approval.  Of course it was pointed out to me (by @StewartCraigon) that I was being somewhat of an arse (surprisingly he lived to tell the tale) and that there were some bloody good grains and blends out there.  Enter the Invergordon 47 from Woodwinters, Edinburgh, this was amazing!  The tropical notes were all there, pineapple, coconut, mangos, papaya, just a dash of passion fruit and then a lovely soft malted cereal notes, with just a touch of toffee, sorry, I digress, but please if you haven’t tried grains or blends give them a go.

So this grain is NAS, it’s a single grain and it comes from the Cameronbridge distillery, this distillery has some providence, established in 1824 and most famous for being the distillery where John Haig first used both Coffey and Stein stills in order to push production through the roof!

With that in mind, what have Diageo decided to call this new release…….the Haig Club, do you see where this came from?

So about the product itself? Well to be honest I can’t tell you much, I haven’t tried it, very few have, but I believe that it will be 40% ABV and as mentioned a single grain, it may be good, it may not be, that’s not the interesting part.

Diageo have decided to release this whisky with the sole aim of enticing young 20 something year olds to try whisky, this in itself is cringe worthy but stick with me guys it gets better.  They are using none other than the most well-known, whisky loving celebrity himself Mr David Beckham!  If that isn’t exciting enough, Simon Fuller (who? You know media mogul extraordinaire? No? Let’s move on) is also on board.   Now it’s at this point I should tell you that when I read the afore mentioned post I thought it was an April Fool’s joke that I had missed (now I know that sounds like a good story, but I can assure you that really is true), and it wasn’t until I read the tasting notes that I realised this was actually happening.

Has the whisky industry fallen so far from popularity that we need to entice the young to put down there fluorescent bottled drink and buy this wonderful Beckham endorsed whisky?  I can see that going down a treat, in fact I wonder if when Diageo finally release this whisky if it will come with a sticker book and packs of cards, maybe some kind of online game whereby you can earn points and swap them for more stickers.  I wonder if they will release a “My Little Pony” or “Barbie” one for girls, because let’s face it using David Beckham isn’t really tapping into the female vote is it?

Will we now turn up to whisky festivals and be greeted by Mr Beckham himself in those pants free pouring this wonderful, cool and down with the kids innit Haig Club?  Cardboard cut outs, signed posters? What next Diageo?  Some abstract bottling made from dragons breath and soul of a unicorn and the tears of every genuine whisky lover out there, with just a dash of morals from the brains of Diageo?   Of course not, I mean three of those items are fictional right?

You may think I am finished but nope I still have a little more spleen to vent.  The bottle, the marvellous packaging itself.  You’ve not seen it?  Would you like to? Of course you would, well before I unveil this in all its glory, think Boots, think the Aftershave aisle and yes you are almost there.

Think I am being too harsh, well ladies and gentleman of the jury I present to you exhibit A

Blue Glass Aftershave Bottle
Blue Glass Aftershave Bottle

 and then here is the actual bottle exhibit B,

The Haig Club Bottle
The Haig Club Bottle

I put it to you good people that they do in fact look the same, in fact moreover I appeal to you all to take a good look at these bottles, do you see much in way of a difference, is this a coincidence?  Is this what it takes to get people to drink whisky?

I have a solution, a far better way to entice people, any age (as long as it’s over the legal age to drink in their country, phew, that keeps the lawyers from the door), any colour, any sex, any religion, sexual orientation or intelligence level.  Don’t take a currently in production whisky, don’t put it into very fancy but very small, let’s say 50cl bottles and don’t triple the price, let’s not price people out of whisky, it’s just an idea people, as ground breaking as it may seem.

Now whilst we are on the subject of price just how much will this celebrity endorsed bottle set you back….?  Well I don’t know, now that’s not just because I am not the great nor indeed the good of whisky and did not get to try this, but because nobody knows, and if they do they aren’t telling.  I think if it’s over £30 we might be getting ripped off.

So why now, why have Diageo decided to do this, is it because the whisky industry is on its knees, barely limping around, is it because Diageo are skint, well I think we all know this isn’t true.  Is it to try and defer all the bad publicity caused by the, quite frankly outrageous hike in price for that whisky?  Even more interestingly why David Beckham, now if there is anybody out there who are personal friends with David Beckham and can disprove what I am about to say, then please bring him to my door and he can watch whilst I eat my hat, but I am going to go out on a limb and say he probably (see lawyers, probably) knows very little about whisky, he may or may not drink it (he probably doesn’t) but he certainly knows nothing of the heritage or the process.

I've been signed up to what!!
I’ve been signed up to what!!

A quick Google search using the search term “David Beckham Whisky Quotes” and “David Beckham Whisky” linked only to the Haig Club, strange if he is, and has been for some time a whisky fan.  Now I could be wrong (seriously people?) but if he is such a fan of whisky why does nobody know this, I could name you several celebrities who like whisky, how can I do this?  Because they have been known to talk publically about whisky, have been pictured with whisky or list it as a passion.

As for Simon Fuller’s involvement, do not get me started, I don’t know why he’s involved and guess what, I don’t care, so I’ll just move on.

In closing, more gimmicks from Diageo, I’ll wait with baited breath to try the product, which may well speak for itself, the tasting notes I’ve read look interesting, but if it does why the need for celebrity?  Where will it end, Diageo dummies (pacifiers for the American’s), branded nappies?

I still live in hope that this is an April fool’s joke, but alas I fear it is not.  Let’s just get back to simpler times when whisky was allowed to speak for itself.

And David, I look forward to seeing you at a whisky festival near me soon.

Kirsty Clarke (@kirstyclarke29)

13 thoughts on “What a load of…….”

  1. The least we can say is that Diageo provides topics of discussion. First Mortlach, the NAS Cardhu’s and Singleton of Dufftown, now Haig… The whisky world would become boring without them 🙂

      1. A whisky that matches the colour of the bottle? (Though it could not be called whisky anymore then…) ?

        I’m in favour of a blend that will go by the name of Port Ellen. To prolong the life cycle of theit cash cow.

  2. Please tell me you don’t write for a living! This is red top tabloid stuff! A rather Ill informed, badly constructed attack on a product and company you clearly know nothing about. Easy to have a pop at the big boys though eh?

    1. Thanks for taking the time to not only read the article but also provide your, oh so constructive criticism. Firstly this is an opinion piece, and as such this is my opinion, you don’t have to like it or agree with it but I am entitled to write it. As you work for Diageo it is of no surprise that you don’t agree with the piece. I would have thought however as “Luxury Brand Ambassador” you would have far more to add than mere personal insults. I am sure you could point out exactly what points in particular are ill informed? Is it easy to “have a pop at the big boys” as you so eloquently put it? I would say it’s harder and you need (golden) balls to do it. Also at no point am I “having
      a pop” at Diageo. We spoke at the Whisky Fringe yesterday and discussed several of the products at length and I am sure you will remember when I said it looked like an attempt from Diageo to tempt teenagers to put down their alcopops, it was YOU who said that’s what it was, so it would appear I’m not so “ill informed” after all! For what’s it’s worth this has been a hugely popular article, so it would appear not everyone shares your views. I look forward to your further comments and speaking to you in person Sunday at the fringe.

  3. It’s no surprise a Diageo employee would take that stance (look how loyal i am) but you think it’s pathetic and over the top to just insult it and it looks like Diageo use bully boy tactics on anyone who disagrees has the big wigs at the top not got the “Goldenballs” to comment or do they hide behind the aftershave sorry i mean whisky bottles and leave that to their minions

  4. I also forgot to comment and i am sure that nobody will disagree people like kirsty and Stewart not too forget others that do this are very important to the industry and i am sure more important than some this is a great site with lots of hard work and a vast amount of knowledge added so people can not only comment but make their own minds up about whisky and not just follow the flock like years ago when it seemed like it was Bells or Grouse sorry to rant on great work whisky corner

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