So, here is another wine cask-matured whisky, this time from Springbank’s Hazelburn line. Springbank have a slightly different approach to wine casks than most distilleries: they either mature the spirit entirely in the wine casks (see the late, lamented 11 yo from Madeira wood), or in the case of secondary maturations, house the spirit for an appreciable period of time in the wine casks. To take only some recent examples, the Longrow Burgundy wood spent 3 years in Burgundy casks after 11 years in refill bourbon; the new Springbank Calvados wood spent 6 years in Calvados casks after as many in refill bourbon; and this Hazelburn also spent 3 years in sauternes casks after 5 years in refill bourbon. This extended second maturation seems different from the briefer wine “finishes” that most distilleries do and in all the Springbank releases I’ve tried I’ve not found the wine notes to be sitting on top of the whisky; and I think in general that the spirit produced for the Springbank and Longrow lines is robust enough to keep the wine in check (which is not something I generally find to be true of Glenmorangie, for example). But will this be true of the more delicate triple-distilled and unpeated Hazelburn spirit? Continue reading
Hazelburn is the unpeated, triple distilled whisky made at the Springbank distillery in Campbeltown. There’s not that much Hazelburn out there in general release. There have been a few releases of an 8yo and a 12 yo, and more recently, the Hazelburn CV (not sure if this is ongoing or if it has been discontinued a la the Longrow CV). Other than that there have been some one-offs; for example, a recent 8yo double matured in bourbon and sauternes casks.
I’ve never been too moved to give Hazelburn a try because the prices seemed too high (especially for the 8 yo) and my preferences generally tend to run towards more robust profiles. However, when Binny’s included the Hazelburn 8 yo in a recent closeout sale I decided to give it a shot. Their site seemed to indicate that I’d be getting the second release of the 8 yo at 46% but what showed up was a cask strength bottling at 56.5%. There’s not too much information out there on this: Whiskybase indicates that it was a single bourbon cask release of 228 bottles for the US, but it doesn’t actually say this on the bottle.