Hazelburn 12 Years Review

“Interesting But Quite Expensive”

Country: Scotland
Region: Campbeltown
Brand: Hazelburn
Distilled at: Springbank
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 12 Years
ABV: 46% 
Chill-Filtration: No
Whisky Review # 609
Buying Advice: 😏  It's too expensive. Springbank is the better option.

Colour: Bronze/Copper (Natural Colour) 

Nose: Relatively Light and a little Edgy. The Sherry Cask influence is noticeable but it feels a little "Dirty". There's a bit of Sulphur there and a hint of Rubber as well. On the Nose, the Hazelburn is mainly Sweet with some Sour, Floral and Mineral (Salty) tones as well. There is some Fruit but it's Dried, not Fresh. I find Barley Sugar, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Nuts, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Apricot and Plum, Apple-Vinegar, Citrus, Dusty Casks, Bounty Candy Bars, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Licorice, Mint and traces of Leather, Tobacco and Metal. The Alcohol is not fully integrated.    

Palate: Sweet, Sour, Salty and Spicy. I find Toasted Barley, Toffee, Vanilla, light Honey, Caramel, Cooked Apples, Dried Fruit like Raisins and Plums, Grapefruit and Orange, Espresso, Tobacco, Dusty Road, Sharp Oak, Pepper, Salt, Nutmeg, Ginger, Clove, Almonds and Bounty Bars.    

Finish: Middle-Long. Sweet and Spicy at first. Towards the end some strong Sour- and Metallic notes. Bitter Oak pops up as well. I find Toasted and Malted Cereals, Caramel, Toffee, Orange - and Grapefruit Juice, Sour Apples, Espresso, Tobacco, Dirty Earth, Almonds, Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg, Clove, Ginger and Bounty Bars.  

I added a little Water and on the Nose you get more Cereals, Toffee and some Sour Apples. Palate and Finish do not change significantly but a little Water does take out some of the "dirty" notes. In the Finish, the Sour Apple note becomes quite clear. You can certainly experiment with a few drops.

Rating: 82      

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 20.5

General Remarks:

The Springbank distillery was founded in 1828 and is owned by the Mitchell family since 1837. Throughout the years it managed to maintain the traditional production methods and today it's the only Scottish distillery that malts its entire need of Barley using its own floor maltings. The distillery produces the lightly peated Springbank that is distilled 2.5 times, the heavily peated Longrow that is distilled twice and the triple-distilled and unpeated Hazelburn. The yearly production amounts to around 150.000 litres of which 80% is Springbank with the remaining 20% evenly divided between Longrow and Hazelburn.

The Hazelburn 12 Years was launched in August 2009 and matures in a mix of Ex-Bourbon and Ex-Sherry casks. It will be replaced this year by the NAS Hazelburn Sherry Wood. The 12 Years is not cheap at an average 70 US Dollars (April 2017). As Springbank has become a kind of a cult distillery over the last years, prices have gone up accordingly.

Drinking Experience Neat: Interesting

Conclusion: In Review 608 I wrote that the Knockando 15 was a boring Malt. The same can certainly not be said about this Hazelburn. There are quite a few interesting Aromas and Flavours to be found. Not all of them are good though unless you are a fan of Sulphur, Rubber, Metal, Dirty Earth and the likes. But there also very clear nice notes like the Sour Apples, the Spices and the Coconut - Chocolate combination you used to find in Bounty Candy Bars. So all in all it's a mixed bag in my opinion. Interesting on the one hand but too Edgy and sort of Unfinished on the other hand. I liked the Tasting Experience but I would not buy a full bottle. Not at 70 US Dollars anyway because that's way too expensive for the Hazelburn 12 Years.

Jan van den Ende                                                                      April 10, 2017


Anonymous said...

Dear Jan,
interesting review. Did you try the Hazelburn 10yo? I like it a lot, if I am not mistaken it is exclusvely ex-bourbon cask matured and more spirit driven (the distillerey character is more obvious) - I was impressed about the rather full charecter despite tripple destilation. And it is way cheaper at about 45 Euros (under 50$) at least here in Germany. I think the 12 year old has been discontinued, hence the high prices. Of course, the Springbank is more powerful, however I do like the Hazelburn 10 - actually better than the 12 that I tried on a festival.

Happy Easter and best regards

Jan van den Ende said...

Hi Bjorn, thanks for your reaction! No, the 12 was my first Hazelburn. You might be right about the casks here. I found that the Sherry casks made the Spirit a little "dirty". Yes, the 12 year has been discontinued and will be replaced by the NAS Sherry Wood this year. Cheers and Happy Easter!