Refinement, elegance and sophistication were words that first came to mind at one glance of the bottles of William Grant & Sons’ House of Hazelwood; the same can be said of the taste of the whiskies within.
With the look of each House of Hazelwood bottle taking cues from the Art Deco movement and also three of the most interesting cities of that period, William Grant & Sons has sought to bring a new level of finesse to the world of blended whiskies with this range of inspired by the luminary of the Grant family, Janet Sheed Roberts. Now Janet Sheed Roberts epitomised women in that age as they started to gain a foothold in society, gaining their voting rights as well as being able to go to school. – in fact, Janet was one of the first women who graduated with a university masters degree. She was also exceedingly well travelled, moving through various cities driven by her great sense of adventure and a thirst for knowledge, and getting exposed to the Art Deco movement which was starting to flourish across many great cities in the world.
With all these in mind, master blender Brian Kinsman – who’s also master blender at highly-awarded sister distillery Glenfiddich – then set out to create the House of Hazelwood, a range of three blended whisky expressions as a tribute to Janet and her amazingly cosmopolitan life. He did not have to look far where component whiskies are concerned – he started with two of her favourite distilleries, Kininvie and Girvan, and ten took into consideration the Grant family’s private collection.
The House of Hazelwood is made up of three expressions all inspired by the 1920s, with each bottle having its own story to tell. The 25 year old expression, in particular, is a great source of pride for Kinsman. Inspired by the classic elegance of Shanghai, it is made with several rare single malts and blended together in American oak giving it notes of caramelised brown sugar, vanilla, maple and soft spice on the nose, and vibrant spice combined with vanilla sweetness on the palate. It also has a long, dry finish.
“The journey of creativity which led me to this unique whisky was one of distinction, challenge and utter delight. It has allowed me to create an exquisitely rare blended whisky, rich in Scotch tradition, combined with all of the inventive artistry which Shanghai in the 1920s inspires,” shares Kinsman.
The 21 year old, on the other hand, is inspired by the sultry beauty of Mumbai. Expect bolder, spicier and more robust flavours balanced by maturation in sherry casks, while dried fruits and spices dominate the nose as cinnamon, cloves and woody spice fill the palate.
The House of Hazelwood’s youngest sibling, the 18 year old, takes its cue from the gentility of Paris. It’s a gentle dram, with Kininvie and Girvan spirits dominating a blend that’s then married in Portuguese oak which gives this blend its complexity with a vibrant vanilla sweetness that fills the nose. Creamy toffee and a long elegant finish makes it very approachable.
House of Hazelwood was launched as a Global Travel Retail exclusive in February 2016 and has now been made available at DFS at Singapore Changi Airport, with the 18YO retailing at S$101.20, S$151.80 for the 21YO and the S$261.90 for the 25YO.