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Whisky Review #07 – House of Hazelwood – 25 Years Old Expression

 

The House of Hazelwood is created by the Master Blender of William Grant and Sons, Brian Kinsman. Inspired by family ancestor Janet Sheed Robert and the 1920s classic elegance of Shanghai, a city that stood at the centre of Cathay elegance in the 1920s. This expression is the pride of the Master Blender as every single malt that earned its place in his final selection are rare in their own ways. All these prized single malts are then married in American oak. The complex and diverse flavours are then allowed sufficient time to infuse and mellow, resulting in a magnificent whisky that is at once rare and unique.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Amber
ABV: 40%

Nose: We get hit by refreshing caramelised brown sugar at first waft followed by variants of vanilla, maple and soft spice. Hints of freshly sawn wood adds to the complexity while citrus zest and orange blossoms lingers in the background. (16 points)

Palate: A pleasant combination of spice and sweet vanilla rolls off the tongue as we sipped. The spice adds a tingling to the tongue while the sweetness of vanilla softens the sharpness of the spice. (15 points)

Body: While it may not be as well balanced as the 21 years old expression, this expression adds points to the body by keeping true to its sweet vanilla overtones in both the nose and the palate, making it a pleasant and luxurious drink. (32 points)

Finish: Long and yet dry, the 25 years old expression lingers long in the mouth with the hint of sawn wood. (17 points)

Total Grade: 80 points

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Whisky Review #06 – House of Hazelwood 21 Years Old Expression

The House of Hazelwood is created by the Master Blender of William Grant and Sons, Brian Kinsman. Inspired by family ancestor Janet Sheed Robert and the 1920s sultry beauty of Mumbai. This expression is the bolder, slightly spicier version of the 18 years old expression, making it a more robust and well balanced whisky. The special notes for this whisky is the addition of some 21 years old malts which were aged in sherry casks made of European oak.

Colour: Dark Gold
ABV: 40%

Nose: Spice and dried fruits dominates the nose with a somewhat sticky sweetness of rich fruit cakes. A splash of water changes the nose and adds complexity to the whisky by bringing a subtle hint of tobacco leaf. (16 points)

Palate: A bold taste of woody spice coupled with cinnamon and clove hits our tongues immediately with the first sip. To bring out the influence of the sherry casks, a splash of water is needed. Water changes the palate a little, bringing out the sweet oiliness of treacle, dates and polished leather. (16 points)

Body: A more robust expression than the 18 years old, this whisky delivers in its palate what is promised on the nose. A well balanced whisky with a little bite. (34 points)

Finish: Dry but short finish, the spiciness does not stay long in the mouth, making it pleasant to drink. (17 points)

Total Grade: 83 points

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Whisky Review #05 – House of Hazelwood 18 Years Old Expression

 

The House of Hazelwood is created by the Master Blender of William Grant and Sons, Brian Kinsman. Inspired by family ancestor Janet Sheed Robert and the 1920s classic elegance of Paris, this expression releases a classic and elegant whisky blended from the purest expression of Kininvie and Girvan spirits married in Portuguese oak.

Colour: Soft Gold
ABV: 40%

Nose: The tender notes of sweet vanilla waft up the nose and stays dominant for the whole time. Possibly the simplest nose with just soft oak to add to the complexity. (15 points)

Palate: Creamy toffee with a soft sweetness of vanilla gently rolls through the tongue as we sipped. The sweetness is enhanced by soft oak undertones, making this whisky gentle and approachable, but yet defined by age. (17 points)

Body: The body of this whisky is balanced and consistent. Light and luxurious in feel as compared to other blended whiskies. (30 points)

Finish: A long and elegant finish with lingering vanilla and oak undertones. A thoroughly enjoyable whisky. (17 points)

Total Grade: 79 points

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Exclusive Whisky Pairing Event: House of Hazelwood

WhiskyGeeks is very honoured to be invited to an exclusive whisky pairing event by William Grant and Sons on 3 July 2017. Held at Violet Oon at the National Gallery, this is a media-only event that introduced their vivacious new blended Scotch whisky inspired by the family luminary Ms Janet Sheed Roberts.

This new range of whisky is named the House of Hazelwood. Composed of three exquisite expressions, each of them is blended to perfection, with its own inspiring story to tell. While all three whiskies are inspired by the 1920s, each whisky lives to tell a story of a different country. The most distinguished 25 years old is a representation of 1920s Shanghai, and a source of pride for its creator, Master Blender Brian Kinsman. It is followed by the 21 years old variant, which is a representation of 1920s Mumbai and the 18 years old variant, which is a representation of 1920s Paris.

This event is a whisky pairing session, which means food is served. As the event is held in Singapore, the organisers proudly paired the whiskies with Peranakan food.

While the whiskies are not paired with every serving of the food, WhiskyGeek enjoyed the selection of Peranakan food that was paired with the whiskies. Having attended many different whisky pairing sessions, it is in our opinion that blended whiskies are best paired with spicy food because the rich flavours of spicy food brings out the taste and flavours of blended whiskies, and vice versa.

Food aside, let’s talk a little bit more about the whiskies. WhiskyGeeks’ opinion is that all three expressions have their own distinct characters but their similarity lies in their light but luxurious feel. From the packaging to the decanter to the whisky itself, all three expression exude luxury and exclusiveness. Personally, we prefer the 21 years old expression as compared to the other two variants as we find the bolder, spicer taste more robust and balanced. You can find the detailed tasting notes of the three expressions in our tasting notes section – The Liquid Gold.  Blended whiskies have their characters too, and can be better than some of the single malts that we have in the market right now.

The packaging themselves are inspirations from the three mesmeric cities that are forerunners of the Art Deco movement – Paris, Mumbai and Shanghai. The designs are focused on creating a unique visual leitmotif which is associated with each city.

The House of Hazelwood was launched exclusively in the Global Travel Retail in February last year. With an ABV of 40%, all three variants are available in a 50cl art-deco decanter style bottle and you can find them only at the exclusive retailers in Singapore Changi Airport. Remember to grab them if you are travelling anytime soon or they will soon be gone!

More about William Grant and Sons, Ltd and Janet Sheed Roberts

William Grant and Sons, Ltd is an independent family-owned distiller headquartered in the United Kingdom and founded by William Grant in 1887. The oldest family-owned luxury spirit company of Scotland is run by the fifth generation of his family today and distills some of the world’s leading brands of Scotch whisky, including the world’s most awarded single malt Glenfiddich, The Balvenie  range of handcrafted single malts and the world’s third largest blended Scotch Grant’s along with iconic premium spirits brands Hendrick’s Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum, Tullamore Dew Irish Whisky, Drambuie and Milagro Tequila.

The House of Hazelwood is created  by William Grant and Sons, Ltd, inspired by both their ancestor Ms Janet Sheed Roberts and the Hazelwood House, a sturdy house that was bought by the Gordon family back in the early 1020s.. Janet Sheed Roberts united  the Grants and Gordon families, and became the undisputed matriarch of William Grants and Sons. She found her love for whisky from her grandfather while living in the Hazelwood House, travelled extensively and became the epitome of the progressive era-defining attitude of women in the 1920s and 30s.

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