Okay, after a week of bourbon reviews let’s do a week of Campbeltown reviews. This is going to be a very low-utility series as all the reviews are going to be of bottles that were hand-filled at Springbank (presumably) in August. I did not fill them myself; I went in on a bottle split with the person who did. My understanding is that these hand-fills are not single casks but more like infinity vattings that get topped up when they get too low. And given the likely foot traffic at Springbank in the summer it’s quite likely that the composition turns over every day or two. I’ll start with the Hazelburn—the triple-distilled, unpeated variant of Springbank—then go on to the Springbank hand-fill and finally end the week with the Longrow, which is nominally more heavily peated than Springbank. I say “nominally” because in practice it’s not always possible to tell the peat levels of Springbank and Longrow apart; and, in fact, I’ve even had a Hazelburn that had more than a bit of peat in it. Let’s see where this one falls. Continue reading
Springbank week began with the 2019 release in the Local Barley series. It continues with a Hazelburn 12 released a decade before that. This is one of many bottles that I purchased in the 2008-2012 timeframe—also known as The End of the Golden Age of Single Malt Whisky—and never got around to opening (on account of having purchased too many bottles of whisky at the time). Well, I’m opening them up now one by one and the time of this Hazelburn has come.
As you doubtless know, Hazelburn is the triple-distilled, nominally unpeated whisky produced at Springbank. I say “nominally unpeated” because among the Hazelburns I’ve reviewed (not very many) is one that had fairly palpable peat. That was an 8 yo from a bourbon cask. I’ve also reviewed another 8 yo doubled matured in a Sauternes cask and more recently a 14 yo from an oloroso sherry cask. I liked them all fine but none got me very excited (I scored them all in the 84-86 point window). This one also clearly has a heavy sherry component—let’s see where it falls. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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.