September 13th 2023
Rare Collectable Whisky: The Autumn Guide
The chilly days of autumn are almost upon us – and with it we bid farewell to a taste of the tropical. We’ve rounded up the very best collectable whisky selection fit to warm the cockles throughout the colder seasons.
After a scorching hot summer, the tell-tale signs that the seasons are changing is a relief. For many of us, it has been an unfavourably warm season, leaving us seeking the shelter of shade, palates left seemingly unquenched no matter the highball in hand, the arid air overstaying its welcome just a little too long.
The turn of the seasons is upon us. A glance outside betrays nature’s last great display of the year, and the leaves on the trees sing their swan song - evolving from luscious green into hues of rustic red, mustard yellow and ochre brown. Frost and fog kiss windowsills and car windscreens, moisture glistening as precious jewels – a welcome sight from the brow-beaten, earthy, and cracked ground of the summer.
Beloved wellington boots, coats, scarves, and hats are rediscovered at the back of cloakrooms, having been lost for a while – but never forgotten. Log wood begins to clamber up into precariously balanced piles, and the anticipation of the first lit fire is almost within reach. Darker nights draw in, but for those sun worshippers of the summer, all is not lost: sweet, smoked, and spiced delights are waiting to be savoured in the form of autumn’s most collectable whisky – a welcome change from the fresh, vibrant, and tropical notes of summer Scotch.
Perfect for Halloween: The Eight Grain
No tricks are to be had within The Eight Grain – only treats can be found in this sumptuous 40-Year-Old Blended Grain Scotch Whisky.
This rare and exceptionally well-aged grain whisky is something of a ghost of the past, featuring no less than eight of Scotland’s great grain distilleries, including those of which have since been lost to history, or gone silent, having not uttered a word in many, many years. A haunting prospect.
Its sweet tasting notes of caramelised banana, banoffee pie and baked sugar standing strong against the heavier flavours of an autumnal menu and complimenting the sweeter treats that we often enjoy at this time of year: s’mores and toffee apples included.
Offered at a natural cask strength of 48.5% ABV, free from added colour and chill filtration, this is a ghost story that is far from frightful, but instead completely nostalgic and a last glimpse of grain whisky history.
Perfect for Bonfire Night: A Trail of Smoke
In a season of fizzing sparklers and flamboyant fireworks, take a moment to step away from the overstimulating hubbub of the celebrations, and sit by a smouldering fire to enjoy something altogether more nuanced emerging from the embers.
For the Scottish Hebrides, the autumn marks the beginning of a long, and sometimes harsh climate. With many of the islands offering little to no geographical shelter, winds are wild, blistering the faces of any visitor. Crashing white horse waves are a constant fixture – and cars, outdoor buildings and casks alike are encrusted in a layer of salty sea spray.
Of course, such an environment is conducive to a marvellously maritime character, epitomised by our 42-Year-Old Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, A Trail of Smoke.
Lightly peated, this exceptional malt is a metaphor for the very best that Scotland’s distilleries have to offer, characterised with tasting notes of a dry herbal aspect, presented alongside signature woodsmoke, before moving into notes of tropical and charred fruit, offset by backbone of savoury delight – the perfect partner alongside a cigar, or by the bonfire.
Perfect for a Chilly Evening: The Unknown
As the trees begin to shed their summer foliage, flowers die back and the local wildlife prepares for a long, deep hibernation, it can be all to easy to view this strip back of colour as a bleak prospect.
But autumn can be reframed as a new opportunity: it is a time to start afresh against the backdrop of a fresh canvas. As leaves shrivel away, dusting the ground in the warmest of colours, this undressing gives way to the secrets of the summer: magnificent, twisted branches and structures that are otherwise unknown throughout the year.
Stepping into the unknown can be daunting, but as exemplified in our namesake, The Unknown, a 44-Year-Old Blended Scotch Whisky, a hint of mystery is no bad thing, and in fact can reward the seeker with something rather remarkable.
Distilled first in 1978 and blended in 1989, this unconventional blend was matured to near perfection, before being decanted into a single refill sherry butt for a hibernation of its own for 33 long years. The exact story of this whisky will never be known – beyond the basic provenance of maturation, very little is known about this particular blend.
The resulting liquid within represents the joy of autumn in evocative and indulgent tasting notes: woody spice, treacle, boiled sweets, and demerara sugar – the ideal partner to a frosty evening.
Collectable Whisky for Autumn – A Selection of Smoke and Spice
An extensive range of aged and rare whisky from within the House of Hazelwood inventory means there is an autumnal and collectable whisky suited to every palate. From nuanced smoke to sweetness and spice, the range is just waiting to be discovered by the discerning drinker.