Hazelburn 14, 2004

Here’s another 2019 Campbeltown release. I’ve previously reviewed the Springbank 21 and the new Kilkerran Heavily Peated. I liked the Springbank a lot, the Kilkerran less so, but neither got me very interested  in purchasing a bottle: the KIlkerran because it just wasn’t very interesting, the Springbank because it’s way too expensive for what it is. Next week I’ll have a review of the Longrow 18 released at the same time. Here now is the fourth from the stable: a Hazelburn, the triple-distilled, unpeated whisky distilled at Springbank. I’ve not had very many Hazelburns before and I don’t recall having had a heavily sherried one. And that is what this is: a large batch of 9900 bottles from oloroso sherry casks. As to whether they were full-term or only partially matured in the sherry casks, I do not know. If you do, please write in below. I’m interested to see what this is like at any rate. Let’s get right to it.

Hazelburn 14, 2004 (49.3%; oloroso sherry cask; from a bottle split)

Nose: Clearly a big sherry bomb. There’s drying oak, orange peel, dried leaves, a metallic quality. With time the dried leaves come to the fore. Softer with a few drops of water: some vanilla and some of that cocoa from the finish (milkier here).

Palate: Pretty much as promised by the nose. A little saltier on the second sip. The texture is fine. With time it gets earthier but also more tannic. Water turns those tannins more sulphurous—giving me that furry feeling on the tongue.

Finish: Long. Gets drier as it goes and then the leafy quality expands, picking up some cocoa. With time there’s a fair bit of salt. Sharper here too with water.

Comments: This is pleasant enough if you like big sherried whisky but the Springbank character is covered up by a lot of generic sherried notes. And, in fact, it appears that if you take triple-distilled, unpeated Hazelburn and mature it in oloroso casks it will emerge tasting like a sherried Springbank. That is not a bad thing, necessarily. However, the development on the finish was the only interesting thing about it.

Rating: 84 points.

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