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Every family has its traditions. For the Gordons, owners of distiller William Grant & Sons Ltd, it’s only fitting that their history is intertwined with their long legacy of producing some of the world’s best whiskies.

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Every family has its traditions. For the Gordons, the family behind House of Hazelwood, it’s only fitting that their history is intertwined with their long legacy of producing some of the world’s best whiskies.

In the 1950s, when brothers Charles and Sandy Gordon became directors of the family business, William Grant & Sons Ltd., they began laying down casks to enjoy on special occasions and to preserve for future generations. For the first time, nearly 100 years later, the family is letting whisky lovers in on their legacy with the release of House of Hazelwood, a rare collection of aged Scotch whiskies that have been hand-selected from their private inventory.

Three of the first editions to be released under The Charles Gordon Collection and four from The Legacy Collection reflect the inventory’s unique provenance, which includes first and last casks from leading distilleries that have since closed, as well as Scotch whiskies made with lost or experimental production methods that are no longer in use.

These exclusive and irreplaceable whiskies are the result of foresight and ambition, unique casks and trials. “The brothers entered the business at quite a young age, at a time when the whisky industry and the ways of running it hadn’t changed a great deal since the Second World War,” Jonathan Gibson, director of House of Hazelwood, says of Charles and Sandy Gordon. “These were two younger men coming in with new ideas – the confidence of youth to some extent – and not scared to shake [the industry] up.”

The family ownership model gave the brothers both the freedom to pursue innovative whisky production methods, such as blending whiskies prior to maturation, and the time to continue to hold on to whiskies that were maturing in interesting and unusual ways.

For the first time, the Gordon family is releasing whisky from their private inventory.

“Part of the luxury of a family business is that you have a bit more leeway than a PLC [public limited company] to experiment and to see how things pan out over a longer time frame,” Gibson explains. “Both of those things are quite relevant to the [family] collection that we have access to. You can see experimental whisky and you can see very old whisky that a PLC probably would have traded out or released at a much younger age.”

The family’s growing private whisky collection has been regularly sampled over the past seven decades, with records detailing the progress of each cask. With the family business now including fifth generations of the Gordon family, such as Kirsten Grant Meikle, the niece of Charles Gordon, the timing was right to release carefully selected spirits from the family’s inventory to the world.

“That’s why it’s being released to market,” Grant Meikle explains. “We have this really, really good liquid that has reached its peak. The time has come to share it more widely.”

Unlike many Scotch whisky collections, House of Hazelwood isn’t shaped around whiskies of a certain age or style – though every spirit has been aged more than 30 years. Instead, the whisky makers sampled the private casks each year to determine which spirits had reached optimum maturation for release. The inventory is stored in several warehouses across Scotland, each of which has distinctive environmental conditions that add further nuance to each whisky’s character.

“What's interesting about the collection is that some of the processes used to distill or blend them are no longer in use, so they [the whiskies] are completely unique. They are literally irreplaceable,” Grant Meikle added. “There's so many fascinating things in there which tell the story of the history of the industry and the way it has changed over the decades.”

Some of the whiskies are so old that in the decades between first being distilled and subsequently being bottled, the rules governing the Scotch whisky industry have changed. For example, the experimental blending method used to create House of Hazelwood’s 1965 release Blended at Birth is now prohibited by the Scotch Whisky Association, meaning that no whisky of this style can ever be produced again.

The Long Marriage, a 56-year-old double-matured Blended Scotch Whisky.

Each spirit in the collection was chosen for its character, its history or its production method, representing an irreplicable moment in the evolution of the Scotch whisky industry, as well as a piece of the Gordon’s family heritage. Every whisky also has a connection to the Gordon family lineage – reflecting the individuals who chose to lay it down and the subsequent generations who sampled and kept it over the years. “The commonality across everything really is a family story,” Gibson says.

The deeply personal nature of the collection is reflected in its name, too – which nods to the family home in Dufftown, Scotland: Hazelwood House.

“That’s why it’s being released to market. We have this really, really good liquid that has reached its peak. The time has come to share it more widely.” – Kirsten Grant Meikle

“This is one of those rare occasions where the best of the best was simply kept back over time rather than consumed,” Gibson says. “These are truly remarkable liquids; the consequence of remarkable thinking, of brave decision-making and the luxury of time that private family ownership brings. They are at once a joy to drink and a treasure to collect. I’m not sure we’ll ever see a collection quite like this again.”

House of Hazelwood is now available at the LCBO. Sign up for the House of Hazelwood newsletter to stay up-to-date on more exclusive releases.

Read more: Once-private collection of luxury Scotch whiskies arrives in Canada

Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio with House of Hazelwood. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.

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