By Emma Briones
In 2013, Label 5—one of the 10 best-selling Scotch brands—launched a new expression for the super-premium price segment, Label 5 Extra Rare 18 Year Old. This is the second Label 5 expression with an age statement, and it is said to be a response to consumers’ “thirst for premium spirits.”
Wit upscale packaging and a twist of blue, the brand from La Martiniquaise wanted to reflect “the premium quality” of Label 5 Extra Rare 18 Year Old. According to Graham Coull, Master Blender of Label 5, “this whisky intensifies Label 5’s trademark flavour profile, and the result is a smooth Scotch whisky of exceptional richness.”
Label 5 Extra Rare 18 Year Old is the top whisky on Label 5 range. Fully matured in oakwood for more than 18 years, It is bottled at 40% ABV (80º proof).
Label 5 Extra Rare 18 Year Old is copper gold in the glass, with medium tears. The nose is creamy, quickly diving in notes of cedar wood and a strong presence of vanilla. It also has a little touch of smoke and a little hint of cinnamon and apple pie.
The blend is smooth and mellow, surprisingly thicker than its range brothers (Classic Black, 12 Year Old, Gold Heritage). First it starts with cedar wood notes and vanilla, quickly followed by a burst of fresher and fruitier notes. There are apples and pears, and a strong splash of banana. Its fruitier notes are well blended with cinnamon, nutmeg and butterscotch, highlighting the creamier side of the blend.
Label 5 Extra Rare 18 Year Old has a lengthy finish. It is warm and mellow, turning its creamy notes to a spicier side of the dram and a gentle touch of wood.
Label 5’s top of the range blend is a mellow and well-balanced dram, continuing with the brand style. However, it is not as surprising as other brand expressions and not as good a whisky for the money as Label 5 Classic Black or Label 5 12 Year Old. Although the price clearly comes from the 18 year age statement, and is even relatively modest for an 18 year old blended whisky, there are better options out there for the money.
Label 5 Extra Rare 18 year old is available in more than 100 countries. In the U. S., it is priced $70.