William Hanger (6 August 1744 to 11 December 1814) was the second surviving son of Elizabeth Bond, heiress and daughter of Richard Bond, Hereford, and Gabriel Hanger, 1st Baron Coleraine. Styled The Honorable William Hanger (1762 – 1794), he succeeded his elder brother John as the 3rd Lord Coleraine in 1794. Coleraine was an Irish peerage, and William continued to occupy his seat in the Irish House of Lords till his death at the ripe age of 70.
The reason why we are discussing this somewhat minor Irish nobleman from the late Georgian era, however, has nothing to do with his contributions as a politician or social figure of the day. Instead, it is his longstanding love for a particular vatted malt, and the journey of this fine blend over the last 200 or so years.
From the Oldest Shopfront in London
To understand William Hanger’s story and his love for the blend, we will have to travel to London – specifically to one of its oldest continuing shopfronts. Walk down The Mall towards the Admiralty Arch, take a detour on Marlborough Road, and continue past St. James’s Palace till you reach Pall Mall. A slight left will bring you to St. James’s Street, and our destination.
Located on No. 3, St. James’s Street, Berry Brothers & Rudd are one of the oldest and most respected wine and spirits merchants in the United Kingdom, having been in continuous operation since 1698. The company has continued its trade in the same premises, in what is now a Grade II listed building, and counts Lord Byron, the Aga Khan and William Pitt the Younger among its many patrons, besides enjoying Royal Patronage since the days of George III.
It is here that Lord Hanger found the one true love of his life, a blend that was to immortalize this Irish peer forever. Renowned for its aroma, flavor and finish, the whisky is a favorite among connoisseurs, and it does not come as a surprise that William too was bowled over by its fine taste and class. His affinity towards the drink prompted the proprietors to name it after him, ‘Blue Hanger’ – a sobriquet for the striking blue clothes of the 3rd Baron Coleraine, clearly the most well-dressed man of his day.
Blending with Pride
Blue Hanger continues to be an exotic dream for blend connoisseurs across the globe. An exceptional and rare blended malt, it continues to be impeccably turned out, with the bewitching aromas of vanilla, peat-smoke and orange peel – harking back to the long-gone days when the original ‘Blue Hanger’, Lord Coleraine himself, would stop by No. 3 on St. James’s Street for his week’s supply.
The palate, once again the toast of many a table over the years, is luscious and complex and leads to a fruity, smoky finale that is sure to have you raise your tumbler once again. While every release of the drink is unique, efforts are made to ensure a continuity of the overall style and the characteristic rich, fruity and smooth complexity that is the signature of this whisky – ensuring that Blue Hanger retains its distinct place among the crowd.
To conclude, let us all raise a toast to this exceptional whisky, and the man whose name is immortalized as its principal aficionado.