Archive for the ‘Springbank (Hazelburn)’ Category

Hazelburn CV 46%

Tasted: Dec 2011

A seriously coastal intense nose. I think I can feel salt encrusting my nasal passageways! Quite high toned with a light heather, violet, acacia and orange blossom aromas. A subtle, yet endearingly complex spirit. With time some hints of singed driftwood emerge.

Like the nose it is intensely crisp and coastal, but that is balanced with some macerated apricot, light barley and malt. Quite robust and deep for a triple distilled spirit but short, partly to do with the rampant salt and citrus. The palate is a shade more one-dimensional than that nose would lead you to believe but it’s a damn fine blast, finishing with a soupcon of dried spice.

Personally I believe that it really needs some oak character to round off the intensity of the spirit and allow the obvious complexity to show through.

Hazelburn 8 year old ‘1st Edition’ 46%

Tasted: Dec 2005

As this has long since sold out this tasting note is purely to show the difference. Just looking at the colour tells you that this has been matured in Sherry casks and it is obvious on the nose, displaying a greater intensity of rich, honied, earthy fruit, full of orange/tangerine with hints of chocolate, peat and coffee. Again fuller on the palate with the rich, sherry fruit and salinity dominating the proceedings. A touch of peat drifts in on the middle and finishes with the salt and smoke lingering.

Hazelburn 8 year old ‘1st Edition’ 46%

Tasted: 2006

Clean, quite honeyed aromas of wheaty, earthy citrus, orange cream, vanilla oils and toasty malt. This really is quite delightful, smooth and rounded. Dry on the palate, initially a touch floral with orange flavours and delicate honey and sweet spices.

Youthful and gloriously tangy with a long oily, spicy finish. I tasted this against a similarly aged Longrow recently and if you take the peat smoke away there is a very obvious similarity to them. Forget the hype of the first edition, with its collector labels and by a bottle as it is a rather easy going, pleasant dram.

Hazelburn 8 year old ‘2nd Edition’ 46%

Tasted: Nov 2006

A very youthful nose with initially plenty of ‘off the still’ cereal and salt along with some apricot fruit, light coffee and smooth orange marmalade. Give this a few minutes in the glass and it becomes exuberantly fruity.

Dry on the palate, again initially quite cerealy, obvious new make notes and a very intense tangy, salty middle with plenty of delicate apricot fruit and a slight hint of marmalade and citrus sweetness. The quality of the spirit is superb, currently rather straightforward and obviously need some time and some further wood influence. Personally I think it is an interesting experience to taste the pure spirit unencumbered by cask and peat, etc.

Hazelburn 8 year old ‘Sauternes Wood’ 55.9%

5 years in refill Bourbon Oak and 3 years in Sauternes.

Dist: June 2002 Btl: Feb 2011/ Tasted: Apr 2011

A huge, powerful nose of dark, sweetly treacly scented dried grape with some leafy, almost Oloroso-esque notes in the background. Very complex and as expected cask dominated, but the complexities of the aromas are stunning – coffee, mocha, burnt sugar, caramelised banana and cinnamon notes. It then becomes exceedingly salty and fishy and then, which was a complete surprise peaty!? – Now I was always under the impression that hazelburn was made from malt that was air dried, but it becomes very phenolic with time!

The palate is soft and grapey with that Oloroso-esque character showing first. Like the nose it’s insanely complex, rich, earthy, fishy, smoky, peaty and intensely, mouth wateringly alcoholic. However no level of alcohol can subdue the big honeyed grapiness and it returns trailing ginger spiced dried fruit in its wake. A big salt hit attempts to restore some balance and it finishes with a considerable tcp/ medicinal flourish.

With water the nose becomes lighter, sugary and more high toned. A bit simpler with plenty of rasiniated fruit, burnt coffee and cocoa still. The palate is softer and sweeter now. Very woody with liquorice and treacle toffee – the Sauternes cask is in full control and it has a sort of Armagnac-like quality to it. Marginally less intense but that is mainly due to the alcohol being tamed by the water but the burnt toffee coated banana and dried liquorice flavours are still running rampant. A seriously different beasty!

Hazelburn 9 year old Barolo Finish 57.9%

6 years in American oak, finished for 3 years in ex-Springbank Barolo casks

Dist: 2007 Btl: 2016/ Tasted: Nov 2016

The nose opens with the subtle winey red fruit and a touch of spice. Quite herbal in an almost refill sherry kind of way with hints of barley and vanilla. With time hints of salt, grilled nuts and tart lemon appears.

The palate is herbal and subtly winey. Being refilled Barolo casks seems to have removed the slight butyric character that often comes with Italian wine casks. Dense and malty with hints of salt, spice, vanilla and dark chocolate. Intensely mouth-watering finish with a rich, almost sherried finish.

Water emphasises the sweet barley on the nose with more of the lemon and honey and lessens the wine influence. It does the same on the palate and makes it a little fuller and oilier with more barley and malt. Still long with a touch of hyacinth and violet in the finish.

Hazelburn 10 year old 46%


Tasted: Mar 2017

Elegant aromas of subtle barley, lemon, fish oils and sea air. Light but robust with a distinct malty character and subtle smoky oak, which reminds me a little of old skool ‘laddie.

The palate is again light but robust with quite a citric opening, followed by barley, apricot, malt, earth and oak. Initially subtler on the salt but it builds well on the middle. Good length with a salty, citric and slightly fishy finish. Malty after-taste. Although triple distilled it has an amazing depth.

Hazelburn 10 year old Rundlets & Kilderkin 50.1%

Dist: Nov 2003 Btl: Jan 2014

Tasted: Feb 2014

A beautiful nose of dusty barley, rose petal, creamy apricot, lightly medicinal herbs and light crème caramel. Very complex with dusty tannins and an underlying coffee-malt and pure, raw honeycomb. With time it develops a sort of mature Spey-like character. Very impressive.

The palate is lightly oiled and sweet-ish. Opening with moist, slightly dried apricot, barley, floral honey and dusty, earthy wood spices. Good intensity with again the impression of some mature oak. A seriously mouth-watering middle with a touch of almond. Long, if a little drying with a salted peanut finish, although the sweet-ish honey comes back on the after-taste. In conclusion it’s extremely elegant and balanced. Yes there is plenty of oak notes but it is definitely not over oaked.

Hazelburn 12 year old 46%

Sherry/ Tasted: Feb 2011

A full on sherry nose – burnt toffee, coffee with a hint of polished leafiness. There is a slight hint of spice and I think I detected a touch of marmaladey orange.

The palate is softly oiled with again the burnt toffee and polished leafy sherry notes and to be honest that’s about it really, although the sherry is very clean though. The spirit is there (on the middle) but it’s pretty undistinguishable. Good length with plenty of salted peanut notes on the finish.

Think Auchentoshan 12 year old but better!

Hazelburn 12 Years Old 46%

Tasted: Feb 2012

Lovely complex aromas, which are initially of oxidised white pear, fleshy apricot and banana along with hints of brine and ozone. Plenty of toffee’d ice cream oak vanillins follow. With time the oak becomes slightly sawdusty and some mature honey emerges.

The palate is lightly oiled with the toffee’d oak showing first. Slightly fishy with some brine notes coming through. There is definitely some maturity at play here but the oak is the dominant theme. Good length with a coffee, dry, slight tannic finish. Conclusion: A very expressive nose, but the oak dominates that palate.

Hazelburn 13 year old Sherry 47.1%

Oloroso Sherry/ Tasted: May 2017

The nose is very grapey and reminds me more of ex Pedro Ximinez casks than Oloroso. Toasted raisins, dried plum, treacle/ toffee and hints of violets appear. The sherry tannins are classically gritty but the treacle balances well. Pleasantly aromatic with a touch of malt, salt and wood smoke.

The palate opens with the gritty Oloroso tannins, coffee, malt, treacle and raisinated fruit. Quite violety and distinctly Springbank! Subtly salty on the middle, although that salty intensity really comes through on the finish. Long and violety with coffee, dark chocolate, coal dust and a light orange conserve note.