By Richard Thomas
The third, oldest and final entry in the travel retail, 500 ml House of Hazelwood line is its 25 Year Old. Having a quarter century old expression at the top only makes sense of an upscale line of blended whisky, after all. This one is billed as William Grant & Sons Master Blender Brian Kinsman’s prized expression, and in a line with an art deco theme, this one is supposed to evoke the style of Shanghai in the 1920s. I think it actually pulls that off rather well, because I can imagine a bottle of House of Hazelwood being very in place for the opening, Chinese gangland stanza of Indiana Jones And The Temple of Doom.
The whisky has a solid gold look in the glass, one underscored by the viscous coat it puts on the glass. As you take in the appearance, the swish proves hesitant to drop its legs, and when those legs do come out, they prove small and slow.
I picked up apples touched up with maple syrup and vanilla with a whiff of grass on the nose, something like being in a farmhouse kitchen where a marvelous pie is being baked, with a late summer breeze blowing in off the fields cut for hay.
The palate is a silky, delicate thing. At it’s core, the flavor is malty, honey sweetness, but dancing around this are notes of marmalade, vanilla and dry oak spices. The finish is presents a light orange blossom touch, which lingers on alongside some very gentle warmth.
This is what I like to call “anti-social whisky,” because it pulls your attention into the glass and away from your friends. It’s the kind of sipper that demands study, a blend both delicate and sublime.
£115 ($145) per 500 ml bottle.