By Richard Thomas
Haig Dimple 15 Year Old is a common sight on European bar shelves, so much so that I would say it is the 15 year old blend I see the most of. So on the Continent, we know it for what is more or less its omnipresence; in America, it grabbed renewed attention for appearing on the Breaking Bad. In the USA, it is labeled as Dimple Pinch rather than Haig Dimple, but Dimple is Dimple and the stuff in the bottle is the same.
The name comes from the dimpled bottle design used by Haig in the 1880s or 1890s (reports vary), leading to the introduction of the Dimple 15 Year Old blend we know today. Reportedly, it contains a higher than normal malt proportion, including stuff from Glenkinchie and Linkwood. Yet as is the norm with the Scotch business, just how high “higher than normal” is, let alone how much comes from Glenkinchie and Linkwood, remains undisclosed.
While Dimple might be a middle-aged blend, it is still essentially a mass market product, and consequently is bottled at 40% abv. The packaging is certainly pretty, though: a hefty, rounded-but-triangular, dimpled clear glass bottle with golden netting, topped by a hefty cap.
One of the good things about that bottle is how it shows off Dimple’s color, a pleasant light amber, somewhere in the place where orange meets gold.
The key characteristic of Dimple is how light and understated it is. The nose is floral and toffee and caramel sweet, underscored by a dry woody note. The flavor has a medium-bodied, butterscotch and toffee character, with a light, but still spicy pepper note and a tinge of dry wood. The flavor unfolds off the pepper, leaving a restrained afterglow with light warmth.
Dimple has a fairly solid international following, and it’s not hard to see why. One might look at the age statement and go “that must cost a pretty penny,” but it actually doesn’t. The numbers on Dimple seem to be around a consistent “35” wherever I see them, in dollars, pounds, or euros. For Americans, that means a nice blended scotch priced in the same range as the typical small batch bourbon, and for Europeans makes for a good deal.