Whisky Focus - Hunter Laing Hepburn’s Choice Range Gets A New Look

Hunter Laing Hepburn’s Choice Range Gets A New Look

4th September 2020
Hunter Laing adds a bit of colour to its Hepburn's Choice range.

New look Hunter Laing Hepburn’s Choice whisky range.

Hunter Laing & Co. has unveiled a new look for their Hepburn’s Choice range which they will be rolling out from this month. Each bottling, whether a single cask or small batch single malt release is now brightly colour coded to denote the whisky region of the distillery where the whisky was distilled.

The aim of the new packaging is to give whisky drinkers a quick and handy reference as to flavour profile, to a limited extent it does, but as you know flavour profiles are not that clear cut. Like the fine wines of the world, the single malt whiskies of Scotland are grouped by region but whisky regional characteristics are not quite as clear cut as with wines, you will find that many whiskies from the same region have similar characteristics in taste and style, but this is more of a guideline rather than a set rule.

To let whisky drinkers know what to expect to find in a bottle you need more than the region and the new packaging does provide you with some more informative details as to what to expect such as age, ABV, filtration and colouring but probably the most important info regards what flavour profile you will find in the bottle appears to be very vague, the type of barrel the whisky matured in.

Hepburn's Choice Glenburgie 12 year old label.

As you can see from the Hepburn's Choice Glenburgie 12 year old label image above, it states “FILLED FROM A WINE CASK” but what type of wine cask? Burgundy, Madeira, Port, Sherry, there is quite a world of difference between different wines and was it a First-Fill cask or Re-Fill, again there can be a world of difference. Other bottlings in the range are the same going by the images of the newly redesigned range they sent me, for example there is a Hepburn's Choice Ben Nevis 9 year old which simply states “FILLED FROM A BOURBON BARREL”, again was it a First-Fill barrel or Re-Fill, there can be quite a difference.

When I received the info from Hunter Laing announcing the new look packaging I did ask them if the new packaging only gives general info on the type of single cask each whisky matured in, which I found surprising as there press release is hyping the new packaging as "giving consumers a quick and handy reference as to flavour profile".  Perhaps they don't know the the origins or details of the casks they are bottling other than general basic info such as whether it is a Bourbon barrel or it is a wine cask, if they did then why not share it on the label? They have yet to reply.

There may be a few hidden gems amongst the Hepburn's Choice range but they are a little more hidden than they could have been, anyway as I said the new look Hepburn's Choice should be hitting the shelves of the whisky shops from this month and you will find it available from specialist online whisky retailers such as The Whisky Exchange, The Whisky Shop and Master of Malt

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