Win the ultimate tasting | The rarity of ‘single blends’ | House of Hazelwood – Scotch Whisky News

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House of Hazelwood

This Christmas, one lucky Whisky Magazine reader will have the rare opportunity to taste the full range of eight old and rare whiskies from House of Hazelwood’s Autumn Release, which is now available to order, and two further readers will be given a taste of the four new Legacy Collection bottlings.

To be in with a chance of winning one of three exclusive tasting packs, simply sign up online to become a House of Hazelwood ‘Keyholder’ using the link below. Part of the bottlers’ inner circle, Keyholders receive benefits including members-only releases, invitations to private events and preferential access to new House of Hazelwood releases.

The deadline for entries is Sunday 11 December 23:59 GMT.
Winners will be notified the following week. 

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The history of ‘single blends’

On a handful of occasions in Scotch whisky history, malt and grain spirits have been produced on the same site. Inspired by House of Hazelwood’s recent release ‘A Singular Blend’, Editor-at-Large Christopher Coates found out more

Single malt and single grain are well known by whisky enthusiasts as the two styles of spirit that come together to make blended Scotch whiskies, which may be household names such as Grant’s or aged rarities like House of Hazelwood’s ‘The Next Chapter’ 50 Years Old. Few and far between, however, are whiskies like House of Hazelwood’s ‘A Singular Blend’ 1963 – a blend of malt and grain whiskies that were both distilled, in copper pots and column stills respectively, at the same Highland location.

During the 20th century, an increase in demand for blended Scotch whiskies and a desire for logistic efficiency led some whisky companies to move to dual-style model and build malt distilleries within their grain facilities.

In 1966, William Grant & Sons built the Ladyburn malt whisky distillery on the site of its Girvan grain distillery, which began producing grain spirit on Christmas Day 1963. (See: House of Hazelwood’s ‘The First Drop’). By 1975, however, it was decided that Girvan needed to expand and Ladyburn was dismantled to make room, ending malt production at the Ayrshire site for 32 years. However, history has a way of repeating itself. Lowland malt spirit returned to Girvan on 24 September 2007 with the first distillation run at the new Ailsa Bay distillery, Ladyburn’s spiritual successor.

Most of these ‘Russian doll’ malts were never officially bottled as single malt, and rarer still are instances of the so-called ‘single blend’ – whiskies created solely from the malt and grain spirits of a single site. Of this tiny number, only a scant few are known to have been matured to any significant age and, thus, the style has passed by many connoisseurs and collectors without notice.

However, all is not lost. Those who wish to try the oldest known example of this rare style may seek out

House of Hazelwood’s ‘A Singular Blend’1963, a ‘single blend’ produced entirely at one Highland distillery and released as part of the Charles Gordon Collection after an impressive 58 years of ageing. But prospective buyers will have to move fast, as just 74 bottles were made available in Autumn 2022 and only a few remain.

  Read our full article about the fascinating history of single blends online at whiskymag.com

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TASTING THE AUTUMN COLLECTION

One of the latest whiskies to be made available in House of Hazelwood’s Legacy Collection, this blended grain Scotch whisky has been given the name ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’ in recognition of its heady floral character. Reviewed blind by Whisky Magazine’s tasters, it has been awarded the honour of Editor’s Choice in the December 2022 edition (issue #188).

Tasting Notes by Christopher Coates,

Whisky Magazine Editor-at-Large

A Breath of Fresh Air 37 Years Old

ABV: 46.4%

Style: Blended Grain

Country: SCOTLAND

Region: N/A
Price per bottle: £1450

Bottling: Independent

Availability: Online

Nose: Intense dried pineapple, jasmine green tea, lychee, furniture polish, dried rose petals, walnuts, mahogany, muscovado sugar, and Averna amaro. Dark chocolate, anise, tomato skins, sage and subtle menthol. Faint orange blossom water.

Palate: Medium. Dried mango and pineapple pieces, jasmine, Chinese five spice, cinder toffee, Camp Coffee (chicory), lemon meringue pie, caramel chews, apple pie with lots of brown sugar and cinnamon, super-ripe tomato, coffee cream chocolates, and umeshu plum sake.

Finish: Medium-long, on toffee, plum and coffee cream.

Comment: Everything one could want from a really, really old whisky, with not even a hint of an age-related ache or pain. Simply superb.

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