Back in November, I did a week of reviews of hand-filled casks from Springbank (a Hazelburn, a Springbank and a Longrow). Those casks were all filled in August of 2022. This week I have a set of reviews of hand-filled Hazelburn, Springbank and Longrow that were all filled in late October—not by the same person, neither of whom were me. As with the August and most other Springbank distillery hand-fills, these do not have vintage or age statements and nor are cask types specified. Indeed, I’m not sure if they’re even single casks per se, as opposed to containers that get topped up when they get low. If any regular visitor to Campbeltown knows more about how this hand-fill program works at Springbank, please write in below. I do know that I liked all three of the August hand-fills very much indeed. And, indeed, I may have liked the Hazelburn the most of the three. As sometimes happens with Hazelburn—nominally, Springbank’s unpeated distillate—I found a fair bit of peat in that previous iteration alongside fruit and the usual Springbank/Longrow earthy complex. Blind, I probably would have guessed that one was a Longrow. I’m not complaining, mind. Let’s see if this one lives up to Hazelburn’s official unpeated description.
Hazelburn Hand-Filled, October 2022 (59.2%; from a bottle split)
Nose: A bit of peat in this one as well. Mostly, it’s a mix of lemon, vanilla, almond oil and wet wool. Gets a bit sweeter as it goes (in a nutty way). With time the salt pops out here as well—and, yes, it’s rock salt in this one as well—but it generally continues as it came in, only more so. With a few drops of water the lemon gets pushed back and it gets sweeter (in the wool, almond oil vein)
Palate: Okay, there’s definitely some peat here; it comes in more peppery than on the nose. Everything from the nose is here as well. A good bite but approachable at full strength; oily texture. The lemon expands as it sits as does the pepper. Saltier with time and the almond oil turns to peppery, lightly phenolic olive oil. Okay, let’s see what water does for it. Water pushes the lemon back a bit here too and ups the (white) pepper.
Finish: Long. The oil and wet wool and prickly pepper keep going for a while. The salt continues here as well once it shows up. As on the palate with water but with added salt at the end.
Comments: Similar to but finally a more austere version of the previous hand-fill; and no less peaty. Hard to pick between them but there’s no reason I have to.
Rating: 88 points.