Taste-testing Haig Club single grain Scotch whiskey with David Beckham

After 22 years as a professional athlete, David Beckham is now a whiskey man. The former Galaxy star and Simon Fuller, who created "American Idol," have teamed up with British liquor company Diageo to release Haig Club, a new single grain Scotch whiskey.

The two hosted a private tasting Tuesday in Los Angeles, presenting the Haig Club neat, along with four cocktails. A Scotsman may frown on mixing Scotch with anything but water, but the Haig Club actually lent itself quite nicely to mixed drinks.


It's a pale amber color in the glass, and the nose is an earthy mix of smoky pine cones and vanilla. Sipped neat, there's no overt potency; it's initially fruity, then finishes somewhere between butterscotch hard candy and burnt toffee.

"I've never been a whiskey drinker," said Beckham, who stressed his involvement in every facet of Haig Club's creation. "I wanted to be, and I wanted to know everything. And now I like to think I'm a respectable one."

The Scotch whiskey is made at the House of Haig's Cameronbridge distillery in Fife, Scotland's oldest grain whiskey distillery. Master blender Chris Clark combines mature whiskey from refill, American oak and rejuvenated casks to make Haig Club.

Beckham said his favorite way to drink Haig Club is neat, or in the Haig Clubman, made with sparkling apple soda, ginger bitters and a slice of ginger root served over hand-cracked ice. It's a refreshing cocktail deserving of white sandy beaches and sun-kissed skin. Not the first thing you imagine when you think Scotch whiskey, but it works.

Haig Club comes in a blue bottle that may resemble a giant bottle of cologne, but is actually a nod to how Scotch whiskey is traditionally sampled. The blue bottle was inspired by the tradition of blenders using blue tasting glasses to review spirits based on nothing but taste and aroma.

Haig Club is now available in the U.S., and a 750-milliliter bottle retails for about $60 to $80.

If you want to drink Beckham's favorite drink, here's the recipe for the Haig Clubman:


Note: This recipe was not tested by the Times Test Kitchen.

1.5 oz. Haig Club

1 oz. sparkling apple soda

6 dashes ginger bitters

1. Build over hand-cracked ice in either a highball or tumbler, then garnish with a slice of root ginger.

I like my Scotch neat. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_