Showing posts with label Springbank. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Springbank. Show all posts

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: ­čśĆ  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

Campbeltown Loch 21 Years Review

“Indifferent Wood If You (C)Ask Me”

Country: Scotland
Region: Campbeltown
Brand: Campbeltown Loch
Produced by: Springbank Distillery, Campbeltown
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky
Age: 21 Years
ABV: 40% 
Chill-Filtration: Information not available. 
Whisky Review # 604
Buying Advice: ­čś× Negative. Too expensive for what it offers.

Colour: Pale Gold/White Wine (Natural Colour)

Nose: Some Sweet Earthy Peat in the background suggests a bit of Longrow in the mix. I would assume that most of the Malt used for this Blend was matured in Refill Ex-Bourbon casks but there is a little Sherry influence as well. On the Nose, this Campbeltown Loch is not very outspoken. You would expect more depth given its age but on the other hand it is probably fair to assume that the best Springbank casks are used for the Single Malts. The Grain Alcohol is noticeable but a lot less than in your average Scottish Blend. I find Toasted Cereals, lightly Burnt Toast, Grass and Straw, Toffee, Vanilla Flavoured Candles, Caramel, Dried Fruit, light Honey, Grapefruit, Dried Banana Chips, Lemon Grass, Cinnamon, Salt and hints of Leather and Cardboard. You have to dig deep though to find some of these Aromas. The casks used were certainly not very active.    

Palate: Thin delivery. I'm glad to learn that the more recent 21 Years is now bottled at 46%. Although a higher ABV is sometimes used to hide weak Spirit. In the case of the 40% I'm tasting today there is nowhere to hide though. And unfortunately, the 21 Years does not convince me on the Palate. It's  Thin and there are some light Rubbery - and Metallic off-notes. I also find Sweet Toasted Cereals, Caramel, Vanilla, light Earthy Peat, light Honey, slightly Bitter Salted Almonds, Dried Herbs, Pepper, Nutmeg, Licorice, Tobacco, Grapefruit Juice and a hint of stale Coffee. 

Finish: A little Thin, Middle-Long and mostly Bitter Sweet with some Sour - and Herbal notes as well. The Grain Alcohol is more noticeable at this point. Quite Dry towards the end with a light Metallic Off-Note. I find Toasted Cereals, Tea, Dried Herbs, Sweet Cereals, Caramel, light Sweet Peat, Refill Oak, Grapefruit Juice, Tobacco, light Leather, Pepper, Licorice and an unexpected hint of Salted Meat.  

Due to the fact that I merely had a small sample at my disposal, I only tasted this Campbeltown Loch neat.

Rating: 81.5   

Nose: 21 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 19.5 - Overall: 20.5

General Remarks:

The Springbank Distillery is one of the very few remaining producers of Campbeltown Single Malt. It's owned by J & A Mitchell & Co. Ltd. and produces three types of Whisky namely Springbank, that is distilled 2,5 times, the peated Longrow that is distilled twice and the unpeated and triple-distilled Hazelburn. Most of the Spirit is sold as Single Malt but a small quantity is reserved for the House Blends Campbeltown Loch (5 and 21 Years) and Mitchell's (12 Years). The Campbeltown Loch 21 I'm tasting today is said to be made of 60% Single Malt (Springbank and others) and 40% Grain Whisky (Girvan). Prices vary a lot from place to place as the 21 Years at 40% has been discontinued in the meantime. They are usually in the 80/160 US Dollar range (March 2017). In 2013, a new 21 Years was launched with new (Springbank like) packaging and an ABV of 46%.

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay 

Conclusion: I was expecting a lot more from this Campbeltown Loch 21 years, more so as I thought the NAS (5 Year Old) expression to be an edgy but honest young Whisky with a good Price/Quality ratio. In my opinion the Spirit has not at all benefited from an additional 16 years in the casks. This says something about the casks I'm afraid. It's impossible to create a good mature whisky using inactive - and/or indifferent casks. And in my opinion that's the case here. It's good that Springbank felt the need to give this Blend a face lift and I will try to get a sample of the 46% to see if the Distillery has succeeded in improving the quality of this Blend. As it stands I can't recommend this "old" 21 years bottled at 40%. Better buy a Springbank Single Malt!    

Jan van den Ende                                                                    March 23, 2017

Campbeltown Loch Blended Scotch Review

“A Blend Worth Looking For”

Country: Scotland 
Brand: Campbeltown Loch
Produced by: Springbank Distillers Ltd, Campbeltown
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky 
Age: NAS (Said To Be 5 Years Old)
ABV: 40 %

Colour: Pale Gold, White Wine

Nose: It's Light but certainly not unpleasant considering the price. I find some Sweet Peat, light Smoke, Brine, Salt, Cereals, Grain Alcohol, Vanilla, Toffee, Banana - and Apricot Flavoured Candies, Grass, Refill Ex-Bourbon Casks and traces of Leather, Espresso Coffee and Cinnamon. It's a bit too Light for my liking and the Alcohol is not integrated. But other than that it's quite okay when considering the price.

Palate: Thin Delivery. The slightly weaker part of this Blend as far as I'm concerned. I find Sweet Grains, Corn Syrup, Earthy Peat, light Smoke, light Caramel, New Make Spirit, light Vanilla, light Banana, light Herbs, Pepper, Salt, Clove, Licorice and a hint of Rubber.

Finish: Middle-Long with Sweet Peat, light Smoke, Cereals, Citrus, Pepper, Oak, Licorice (quite a bit), Salt, Caramel and Alcohol. Nothing to get excited about but not bad in its category.

I added a bit of Water and on the Nose, the Oak and Grains start to dominate. Palate and Finish do not benefit from added Water either. Better sip it neat. 

Rating: 84

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21

General Remarks: The Springbank Distillery is one of the very few remaining producers of Campbeltown Single Malt. It's owned by J & A Mitchell & Co. Ltd. and produces three types of Whisky namely Springbank, that is distilled 2,5 times, the peated Longrow that is distilled twice and the unpeated and triple-distilled Hazelburn. Most of the Spirit is sold as Single Malt but a small quantity is reserved for the House Blends Campbeltown Loch (5 Years) and Mitchell's (12 Years). The Campbeltown Loch I'm tasting today is made of 40% Single Malt (Mainly Springbank and Longrow) and 60% Grain Whiskies. It costs an average 30 US Dollars.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: This is a Cheap Blended Whisky that is good enough to sip. There is nothing really special going on but it's utterly drinkable. I like the Nose. Nice interplay between Sweet Candy and Medium Peat. The Grain Alcohol does not bother me that much as it does in the majority of Blends in this category. This spirit really deserves more (quality) cask time. The Palate does not convince me in the same way. No Off-Notes here but it's all a bit too Thin for my taste. The Finish is not bad and invites you to have another sip. It's very drinkable to the point that you need to remind yourself that this is Whisky with an ABV of 40%. I think it's a pity that this Blend is not more widely available and at this price level you should certainly give it a try when you find it somewhere. 

Jan van den Ende                                                      September 11, 2014

Campbeltown and the Log