Diageo is to introduce a new variant of its grain whisky Haig Club in Britain, pitched at a lower price than the luxury brand launched with David Beckham.
Haig Club Clubman is again made with grain whiskies from the Cameronbridge distillery in Fife but matured exclusively in American oak ex-bourbon casks, creating a smooth, sweet character.
It will be available as a permanent addition to the brand in the on-trade and off-trade across Britain from August at a recommended price in retail of £25, in contrast to Haig Club’s recommended price of £45.
With the same ABV of 40%, the new variant comes in a bottle based on Haig Club’s original square, blue design but elongated. The launch of Haig Club Clubman will be supported with a £2.5m media campaign launching in October alongside ongoing investment for the Haig Club brand in the key Christmas sales period.
While Haig Club was designed for “cool and considered, sit-down stylish occasions” as well as gifting, Haig Club Clubman is described as “perfect for up-tempo trendy stand-up occasions”. Both are recommended for drinking neat and in cocktails but Haig Club Clubman is said to be well suited to mixing with cola.
Ronan Beirne, global marketing director for Haig Club, explained: “Clubman aligns with our long-term ambition to offer a stable of Haig Club expressions at various price points to match different occasions and consumer tastes.
“We are pleased that Haig Club has helped to place grain whisky back on the map and become one of the most talked-about whiskies in the world.
“Out of this success, the time is right to introduce a new edition. Haig Club Clubman will enable us to continue to drive the vibrancy and momentum of the scotch whisky category, in line with the brand’s strategy.”
Haig Club was launched in 2014 by Diageo in collaboration with David Beckham and pop impresario Simon Fuller, drawing on the House of Haig name that dates back nearly 400 years. The new variant’s name is inspired by advertising for Haig whisky from the 1920s which advertised it as “The Clubman’s Whisky”.
David said: “Working closely with Diageo, we look forward to welcoming Clubman into the Haig Club family. From its earliest days, scotch whisky has attracted people from all over the world with its sophistication, style and distinctive array of flavours. We want to continue in this spirit, bringing to market a special new whisky and introducing new fans to this incredible industry.”
Simon added: “Haig Club was a game-changer for the category and Clubman reflects ours and Diageo’s shared goal of continuous commitment to evolving a home-grown brand that breaks the rules of scotch. We are excited to officially launch Clubman and welcome the next chapter for the House of Haig.”
Both whiskies were created by master distiller and blender Chris Clark, using different combinations of casks. Haig Club uses three wood types – refill casks, fresh ex-bourbon American oak casks and rejuvenated casks – while Haig Club Clubman uses only American oak casks that have previously held bourbon.
The sweet, gentle grain whisky interacts with the vanilla, butterscotch and sweet toffee flavours from the ex-bourbon casks to create a smooth and sweet style of whisky.
Diageo global whisky master Ewan Gunn said: “Whilst Haig Club Clubman is delicious straight up or on the rocks, the perfect way to enjoy this scotch whisky is with cola. The sweet, vanilla and coconut flavours combine perfectly with the sweet caramel of cola, creating an approachable and delicious drink which is refreshing in taste and perfect in its simplicity.
“If you already love scotch then you’ll enjoy this combination of flavours, and if you’re new to scotch this is the ideal introduction.”