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Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The Whisky From Breaking Bad - Dimple Pinch Scotch Whisky

Breaking Bad and Scotch whisky; two of the very items which seem to have consumed my life recently.

It must have been over a year ago when a chap called Olly Wehring, editor of drinks industry website Just-Drinks and erstwhile twitter addict (@ollywehring) 'lent' me a copy of the first season of Breaking Bad on DVD.

Now that the final season, five, has hit our screens in the UK via Netflix (already making the idea of having watched season one on DVD seem like a vintage concept) each Monday, it has become a 'must watch' in my house.

On that note: when did the word 'season' overtake the word 'series'? I'm not sure I like it.

But back to Breaking Bad... It took me a good nine months or so before I even looked at the DVD which had been lent to me.

I'm one of those people who, when someone says to me "I think you'll really like it...", revolts against the idea. It makes me want to really not like something. Just as when someone says "I think you two would really get on...". No. No, we won't.

Despite this unusually pessimistic stance (how can one be a pessimist when supporting Oxford United?!), it is always a joy to be proven wrong. And this is exactly what happened with Breaking Bad.

Two episodes in and I was hooked. A couple of weeks later and I was already on season four. What had become of me?

As the seasons develop, main character Walter White is seen imbibing various drinks, from "Churchill's favourite Champagne", Knob Creek whiskey, cheap Tequila and, of course, Scotch whisky.

But it was not until the penultimate episode (shown this week) where, at a bar (I won't say where, as I've not given a spoiler alert at the start), Walt orders a Scotch- a "Dimple Pinch. Neat."

Dimple Pinch is a blended Scotch whisky which comes in quite a unique 'pinched' bottle. If you're outside the US and looking to pick up a bottle of this (to watch alongside your two copies of Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium at your Breaking Bad finale party next week) then, unless you hit specialist retailers such as The Whisky Exchange or Master OfMalt, and pick up a vintage bottle, you won’t find Dimple Pinch here. But you will find exactly the same drink, in the same bottle, but carrying the title Haig’s Dimple.

A while back (in 2011) we did a post on Haig, the man (or men) and the influence the Haig family has had on both Scottish and Irish distilling, which you can read here.

A fascinating story, it is rightly deserved that Haig’s name remains on a bottle of Scotch whisky and quite sad that Dimple Pinch’s new found fame doesn’t reference the man himself; for had Breaking Bad been set in the UK... well, Walter White wouldn’t be in his predicament to start with (Go, NHS!), but his bar call would have been “Haig’s Dimple. Neat.

So here, once again, are our tasting notes from a vintage bottle of Haig’s Dimple:

Dimple Pinch / Haig's Dimple – Old Blended Scotch Whisky – NAS - 70pc Proof – 13 1/3 Fl Oz

Nose: The first impression is of spiced apricots. Almost Bombay Mix but with a tangy, fruity nature behind it. Over ripe banana notes then peek through, which grow over time. It seem to me that there is a decent slug of European Oak in here but there is also some energy from the grain whisky which certainly waves its flag from the medley of different aromas. As the nose dies off it leaves behind some fresh mint and a hint of strawberry travel sweet (the ones covered in dusty sugar).

Palate: Banana hits first with a range of different fruits, from pear drops to red cherry dancing about. But not real flavours, again the sort you find in boiled travel sweets. No bitterness, but a touch of sharp, zesty citrus notes which don’t sit brilliantly with the sweetie notes. However, it makes for a more developing and energetic palate, pulling it away from “too sweet, sickly” just at the right point.

Finish: Short, slightly spiced with the lime zest lingering and a hint of liquorice at the death.

Overall: It doesn’t matter when this blend was put together, it is still a No Age Statement Blended whisky and, without knowing how ‘exclusive’ it was when it came out, I didn’t hold much expectation. This more than delivered with a fantastic nose, a suitable palate which was well balanced if not a little unsubtle in moments and a finish that leaves you able to refill and go again pretty quickly. All-round, drinkable and enjoyable.

So if you’re stocking up on Dimple of any kind, in any country, for the finale of Breaking Bad, then have a go at seeing how close today’s offerings are from that in the tasting note above.