Having featured an eminently affordable blended Scotch whisky here last month, this time around it is a case of indulgence and rarity, and, of course, the sort of hefty price tag that goes with the territory.
Hazelwood Reserve 15-year-old was the first official bottling from Kininvie distillery, created by Glenfiddich and Balvenie distillers William Grant & Sons in the Speyside malt whisky 'capital' of Dufftown in 1990.
It was released to celebrate the 105th birthday of Janet Sheed Roberts, the grand-daughter of William Grant and was matured in ex-Sherry casks. It was not intended to be sold to the public, but was principally bottled for selected members of staff and the Gordon family, descendents of William Grant, who continue to own and run the business.
Accordingly, the few bottles that found their way onto the open market are extremely rare. Slightly easier to get hold of is the 17-year-old Hazelwood Reserve, which was released in 2008 and is available through airport retailer World of Whiskies.
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Kininvie distillery was established to provide extra capacity for William Grant's blended whisky operations, though it is also a major component of the blended malt Monkey Shoulder. Essentially, it consists of a stillhouse, equipped with three wash stills and six spirit stills, while the dedicated mash tun and washbacks are located within neighbouring Balvenie distillery.
Kininvie, Hazelwood 105 15-year-old (Scotland)
Dates, figs, burnt toffee, Sherry and furniture polish feature on the luxurious nose, which becomes even more assured and accomplished with the addition of water. Smooth and full-bodied in the mouth, with berries, dry Sherry, aniseed and liquorice. More soft fruits and some vanilla when water is added. A lengthy, well-mannered, spicy oak and bitter chocolate finish. Water accentuates the spices. The perfect nightcap after a fine dinner and an ideal accompaniment to a full-bodied Havana cigar.
52.5% ABV, 70cl, £975.00, specialist whisky merchants.