New whisky business, House of Hazelwood, unveils range of rare and aged bottlings
Launching today, House of Hazelwood, promises collectors and enthusiasts the opportunity to access a diverse collection of rare, aged and storytelling whiskies through a highly limited number of launch releases.
For almost one hundred years, generations of the Gordons, the renowned Scottish family of distillers, have carefully laid down stocks of whisky for special occasions and personal consumption. This rare collection has become known as House of Hazelwood, after the family’s Dufftown home – Hazelwood House. Spanning seven decades and every corner of Scotland, the diverse whiskies held in cask tell stories of remarkable places, lost ways of working, first casks, last casks, the ambitions and achievements of several lifetimes – none of which will be repeated again.
Describing the rare bottlings that are now available, House of Hazelwood Marketing Director Jonathan Gibson comments: ‘Unlike most Scotch whisky producers, our business carries with it no requirement to release whiskies of a given age or a given style on a set date. This is a collection of individual spirits, representing unique casks, trials that have taken place over the years and combinations that may never be seen again. Central to this is the philosophy that the maturing stock is ready when it’s ready. The inventory is regularly sampled, with meticulous records kept of its progress. Only once it reaches its peak will it be bottled – and of course, in a world of individuals, once it’s gone it is truly gone. The whiskies carried within the collection are unique and irreplaceable– single snapshots in the long history of Scotch whisky.’
The House of Hazelwood inventory is held in a number of carefully selected warehouses across Scotland, with fresh stocks laid down each year. Prior to bottling, a small proportion of the stocks are held in traditional dunnage warehousing near Dufftown in Speyside, from where they are carefully monitored and sampled ahead of release. Commenting on the source of the whiskies within the collection, a representative from the Gordon family explained:
‘For almost one hundred years my family have been laying down stocks of whisky to mature for future generations to enjoy, with the collection growing in scope and stature as the decades have passed. For the first time, this once-private collection is being offered to those outside the immediate family in small batches hand-selected for release. These are the most compelling whiskies that the inventory has to offer – a bridge between the past and the present, each issue remarkable by virtue of its character, history or method of production.’
The diverse whiskies offered at launch all feature unique provenance and highly limited supply – from the first drop of whisky to come off the stills at the Girvan grain distillery on the South Ayrshire coast – to the last drops distilled at some of Scotland’s now silent distilleries. Split across a range of four Charles Gordon Collection releases (with recommended retail pricing from £3,000 / 70cl) and four Legacy Collection releases (with recommended pricing between £950 – £1,500), the whiskies will be available online at the House of Hazelwood webshop today: www.houseofhazelwood.com, as well as through retailers including Hedonism Wines, Royal Mile Whiskies, Davidoff of London and The Whisky Shop from June.
Commenting on the plans for the business, House of Hazelwood Commercial Director Phil Keene explains:
‘In terms of both breadth and depth, the inventory of aged Scotch whisky that House of Hazelwood can draw from is truly unmatched. We will build up a personal relationship with the collectors and enthusiasts that we know will be interested in the launch releases. We are also opening the business up to consider private projects by commission through our whisky concierge service that will offer individuals and businesses the opportunity to explore the collection with a view to bottling a single cask or working with us to create their own proprietary blend.’
The House of Hazlewood Launch Collection:
The Charles Gordon Collection
A legend within the Scotch whisky community, Charles Gordon spent much of his youth at Hazelwood House and in later years was fundamental in bringing in some of the earliest stock that was laid down for the House of Hazelwood collection This eponymous collection of rare and old Scotch whiskies represents some of the most remarkable stock held within the inventory – every cask aged for at least fifty years, every bottle with its own story to tell.
- The Cask Trials, 53 Year-Old Single Grain Scotch Whisky. Distilled in 1968 and matured for 53 years in a single sherry butt, this is an incredibly rare, deep and intense release crafted from an unlikely marriage of European oak and Girvan grain. Almost unrecognisable as grain whisky but with a delicious underlying richness.
- The First Drop, 58 Year-Old Single Grain Scotch Whisky. On 8th January 1964, the very first drops of new make spirit flowed at the Girvan grain distillery, in South Ayrshire. Since then, many millions of litres of alcohol have flowed off those stills but the first casks filled have lain undisturbed – maturing and improving with every day.
- Blended at Birth, 56 Year-Old Blended Scotch Whisky. Some whiskies may appear born to be paired together but very few are blended at birth. Yet such is the case with this unusual parcel of grain and malt, born 56 years ago and married – as new make spirit – before aging as a blend for half a lifetime in American Oak. Time has mellowed the new-make character and brought the malt and grain components together to create a blend that has matured as a single spirit.
- The Long Marriage, 56 Year-Old Blended Scotch Whisky. This unique whisky has lain undisturbed in a single refill butt marrying for almost half a century. Bottled at natural strength this is one of the rarest whiskies within our inventory – rich and mature with a majestic antique character and layers of complexity.
The Legacy Collection
Every whisky laid down within the House of Hazelwood inventory represents a legacy for future generations to explore and enjoy. The Legacy Collection showcases some of the brightest highlights of the inventory, comprising whiskies of exceptional character and provenance, each with a story to tell. Within the Collection are whiskies that are the first of their kind, the last of their line, those that capture the spirit of an era and those that offer insights into the inner workings of the Scotch whisky community.
- The Tops, 33 Year-Old Blended Scotch Whisky. Every blender has malt whiskies in their inventory that are considered to be ‘tops’ – the best of the best available from the inventory, typically used sparingly and eked out over time. This rare blend of malts is an indulgent combination of the very best of our ‘tops’, married together to create something truly precious – richly decadent with a sherried character and layers of complexity.
- The Spirit of Scotland, 46 Year-Old Blended Scotch Whisky. This exceptional blend was first created in 1994 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the oldest recorded reference to Scotch Whisky within the1494 Exchequer Rolls of Scotland. Since first being blended, the spirit has lain in cask for a further 28 years, developing further with every year and building into a truly exceptional, fully-unified Blended Scotch Whisky.
- Sunshine on Speyside, 39 Year-Old Blended Malt Scotch Whisky. Distilled in the early ‘80s in the era of brightly coloured, tropical flavoured cocktails it is perhaps only natural that this Speyside Blended Malt has taken on notes of pineapple and mango throughout its time in cask. The emergence of flavours such as this is unusual, inexplicable and reminds us of the magical process that takes place between cask and spirit over time.
- The Lost Estate, 43 Year-Old Blended Grain Scotch Whisky. Grain whisky distilleries in Scotland are rare enough but a blend of grain whiskies created from now-silent distilleries is rarer still. This unique blend brings together the individual distillery characters of two of Scotland’s closed grain whisky distilleries to create a style of whisky that reflects a past era of production.