Thanks /u/Orehnmadgib for pouring these for me.
While going through my samples I realized that I had quite a few Campbeltown samples. And that I hadn’t drunk Campbeltown in awhile. I should fix that.
Up first we have Hazelburn. Of the few distilleries in the once mighty Campbeltown region, Hazelburn goes under the radar, at least in my experience. You have Springbank, the MVP, their peated malt, Longrow, and then Glen Scotia, the underdog, and finally Glengyle / Kilkerran, the dual personality disorder one. With those kinda neighbours, maybe being the one people don’t notice is nice.
Well, that’s not fair, Hazelburn isn’t just “the other neighbour”. Granted they are unpeated, so a bunch of you have already moved on (sadly). But they are also triple-distilled, which we normally only see in a few Lowlands and in Irish whiskey. In addition, Irish whisky has unmalted barley, so we’re changing things up again.
That makes this a different neighbour. Perhaps that’s the lesson: Everyone can be interesting if you dig and learn enough about them.
So today we have two different Hazelburns. The first is your typical Oloroso matured whisky, multiple casks, and a general release. The second is a harder to find, single cask First Fill Sauternes cask. Can’t say I can remember a time I had a Sauternes cask in while it was mentioned if it was first or second fill, so that’s new.
Let’s get to these then, shall we?
Hazelburn 13 2003 Oloroso
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Cask Used: Oloroso Sherry Casks
Number of Bottles: 12,000
Colour: 10YR 7/10
Nose: Banana, butter, gravel, alcohol, earth
Banana, butter, and that earthiness of Hazelburn. Boozy. It’s odd in that there’s no nuttiness, no red fruit. The spirit is on display here. The banana is the main thing.
Unless you’re really, really into earth as something to eat. Then yay for you? I’m glad earthworms have started reading my reviews. I welcome my future squirmy overlords.
Taste: Banana, caramel cookies, malt, nutmeg, lime pith
More banana. A lot less earth. Goodbye Annelida readership.
Sweet, malty, and some spice to round all this out. The citrus here isn’t doing what I want it to. It’s paired up with the earthy bitterness. The rest? Good times.
Finish: Banana, chocolate, gravel, basil, raisin
I’m thinking that monkies will start reading my reviews now. And then there will be a planet of the apes of some sort and I’ll be fine.
Earth comes back, but brings chocolate with it. I’m okay with some raw earth if it brings spice and chocolate with it. Oddly keeps this more consistent.
Conclusion: Banana bomb. A ton of banana all the way through. That’s why you drink this. Love potassium? This doesn’t have any of that nutrient. Love what brings the potassium? Then yeah, this is for you.
Other than being stereotypical monkey bait, there’s different elements of earth going on. It’s interesting and differs from typical Oloroso cask whiskies. It’s worth trying.
Hazelburn 9 2007 Sauternes Single Cask
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Cask Type: First Fill Sauternes
Number of Bottles: 252
Colour: 7.5YR 5/10
Nose: Apple, cashew, cloves, guava, fresh roasted peanuts
Different now. We have more apple and spices. Lots of nuttiness on this one, and it amps up the amount of nuts like a football pileon.
Litlle bit salty. Nice tropical fruit gives a surprise as well. Also I’m talking about the whisky here, not the pileon.
Taste: Honey, lemon, caramel, banana, hazelnut butter
There’s the lemon I know from Sauternes. I’m not as hatey (angry maybe you crazy person?) on it this time. It’s nice and vibrant with the Hazelburn.
Again, water and we got tons of nuts, like a pair of desert traders making a deal (well, for the nut guy, you need water in the dessert from what I’ve read).
Finish: Cashew, apple, rhubarb, cloves, some egg/custard
The nuttiness doesn’t even wait for the water this time. Lots of stone fruit elements going on. No tropical elements here… Wel, except for the cashews. Wow, that was very colonial of me. What an odd moment.
Not too spicy, and water makes it creamy.
Conclusion: Water brings us to nut heaven. Don’t expect big flavours here. Expect balance, nuttiness, and lots and lots of stone fruits. This isn’t your typical lemon bomb. It’s more and more nuttiness.
Nuts all the way down, if you will. And that brings elephants. Or turtles eventually. I can’t remember.
What I’m saying is this is a very traditional whisky flavour done well without any rough edges. Whereas the last Hazelburn took those rough edges and gave us things to make up for them, this one left them out, though didn’t do too much beyond it.
So there you have it. Two Hazelburns that are very interesting, for different people.
Scotch review #975-976, Campbeltown review #45-46, Whisky Network review #1532-1533