Showing posts with label Tasting Notes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tasting Notes. Show all posts

The Balvenie 21 PortWood Review


“Speyside’s Port Authority”

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: The Balvenie PortWood
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 21 Years
ABV: 43% 
Chill Filtration: Yes 
Whisky Review # 614
Buying Advice: 😐 Neutral. Nice Malt for Port lovers. Negative Price Vs. Quality Ratio. 

Colour: Old Gold/Brandy with a touch of Orange (Probably Coloured)

Nose: An interesting combination of Sweet, Sour, Dusty, Fruity, Floral and Oak tones. The Port Pipe Aromas are unmistakably present. At first I get a bit of the Cooked Vegetables Aromas I often find in the Jura Single Malts. They tend to disappear over time so it's very important to give this Portwood sufficient time in the glass before Nosing. After around 15 minutes I find Toasted Cereals, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Toffee, Caramel, Wax, Honey, Brown Sugar, Bourbon, Stewed Orchard Fruit, Blackcurrants, Red Wine, Polished Leather Upholstery, Dirty Road, Nectarine, Tinned Pineapple- and Peach slices in Syrup, light Citrus, Cinnamon, Clove, light Menthol and Aniseed. Although noticeable, the Alcohol is still reasonably well-integrated. I also find a hint of Smoke from a very distant fire. There are more than sufficient traces of Aromas to be found if you take the time with this Single Malt. The main drivers however are Sweet Fruit, Buttery Cereals and Polished Leather, accompanied by Wood, Spice and slightly Sour Red Wine. It's not bad but it isn't entirely my style. 

Palate: The delivery is a little Thin. On the Palate and in the Finish the age of the Malt becomes clear as Oak and Wood Spice appear at the front. On the Palate, the Portwood is mainly Bitter Sweet but also with a few Sour Notes. I find Toasted Cereals, Buttered Toast, Toffee, Caramel, Honey, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Dried Fruit like Apple, Apricot and Plums, Nectarine, Citrus, Dusty Road, Red Wine, Hazelnut, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Aniseed, Cocoa Powder and Tobacco.     

Finish: Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour notes as well. Dry in the end with Tannins and Oak. Unsweetened Cappuccino topped with Cinnamon and Cocoa Powder is my first image. After a little while I also find Toasted Cereals, light Honey, Orange-flavoured Dark Chocolate, Brown Sugar, Red Apples, Nuts, Red Wine, Sour Cherries, Nectarine, Pepper, Aniseed, Nutmeg and Tobacco.   

The Balvenie PortWood does not improve with added Water. Better sip it neat. 

Rating: 84.5        

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


General Remarks: 

The Balvenie distillery was founded in 1892 by William Grant in Dufftown, Keith, Banffshire. Production started in 1893. It's still in the hands of William Grant & Sons. Today it's one the 10 most sold Single Malts worldwide.

A vintage Portwood was released for the first time in 1996. Today the 21 Years Portwood is part of the core range of the distillery. There are two expressions around at the moment. The standard one I'm tasting today and a Travel Retail expression that is bottled at 47.6% and without Chill-Filtration. The Portwood matures for over 20 Years in Ex-Bourbon casks before being finished for a number of months in 30 Year Old Port Pipes. The Price varies a lot from place to place but is usually in the 150/200 US Dollar range (April 2017). That's quite expensive but a 21 Year old Whisky can't be cheap of course. 

Drinking Experience Neat: Good 

Conclusion: The Balvenie is one of those distilleries that produces whole ranges of pleasant, enjoyable Single Malts that are quite mainstream. It's difficult not to like them. On the other hand they all miss the "WOW" factor in my opinion. And that means that the Price/Quality ratio becomes rather important when you are going to buy a Balvenie Single Malt. I kinda liked this Portwood for example but no way I would spend over 150 US Dollars for this Single Malt. It's not special enough for that kind of money. And the same goes for most of Balvenie's special expressions. That's why I always come back to the 12 Years Double Wood as one of my to-go-to drams. Pleasant Single Malt with an excellent Price/Quality Ratio. If you adore Port Finished Single Malts however and you have the cash, this Portwood is certainly not a bad choice. 

Jan van den Ende                                                                      April 27, 2017

Laphroaig Lore Review


“Where Do We Go From Here”

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand:Laphroaig Lore
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
ABV: 48% 
Barrier Filtration: Yes 
Whisky Review # 613
Buying Advice:😡  Way too expensive. Go for the 10 or the Quarter Cask!

Colour: Golden Corn (Most likely Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Young and slightly Dirty with Cold Smoke, Dirty Earth, Soot, PVC Pipes, Tar, Ashes, Diesel Oil, Leather, Iodine, Brine, Wet Stones, Burnt Toast, Charred Oak, Damp Cellar and Shell Fish. I don't get a significant Sherry influence. A little bit of Salted Nuts, Dried Fruit and Straw. After a while in the glass I get some Vanilla, Toffee, Caramel, Cocoa Powder, Lemon, Milk Chocolate, Ripe Bananas and Apple Sauce. The Spices include Ginger, Cinnamon and Cardamon. And finally quite a bit of Menthol. It's not as outspoken as the 10 Years and not near as mature as the (former) 18 years. It's another attempt to create a young mainstream Laphroaig. Gone are the days that you either loved this distillery or hated it. Good for sales without any doubt. A pity for those Whisky fans who loved the distinguished characteristics of each distillery. If the trend continues this way the whole concept of Single Malt will be hollowed out and Whiskies will merely be distinguished by type. Something like Sweet, Medium Sweet, Dry, Lightly Peated and Heavily Peated. And those varieties could be made in a few huge producing facilities. Am I too pessimistic here? Or are we slowly but surely being pushed in that direction! Only time will tell! Let's stop the ranting and return to the Nose of the Lore. It's okay but nothing special. And that just adds to my case! Because a Single Malt should not be just okay. That's something for boring Blends.     

Palate: There's a Young feel to it on the one hand but it's a bit Oily at the same time. I find Cold Smoke, Dirty Earth, Brine, Ashes, Soot, Tar, Iodine, Leather, Plastic, Caramel, Toffee, Sour Cherries, Green Apple, Pear, Pepper, Cinnamon, Clove, Nutmeg, Lemon, Grapefruit, Gooseberries, Licorice, Dried Fruit, Smoked Fish or Shell Fish, Aniseed and hints of Tobacco and Chocolate.   

Finish: Middle-Long and quite Dry. The Ashes and Dirty Earth stay a little longer on your Palate. The Finish is mainly Bitter-Sweet with some Mineral and Sour notes as well. I find Toasted Barley, Charred Oak, Ashes, Cold Smoke, Soot, Iodine, Wet Grass, Vanilla, Green Apple, Pear, Salt, Gooseberries, Raspberries, Licorice, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg, Aniseed, Fish and/or Shell Fish on the BBQ and hints of Tobacco, Leather and Cocoa Powder. After a few sips the Bitterness seems to increase and that's not a good thing.

I added a little Water and on the Nose some extra Fruit appears. Mainly Pears and Apricots. A little Orange perhaps. Palate and Finish become too Thin for my taste. Better sip it neat. 

Rating: 83.5       

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


General Remarks: 

Laphroaig was founded in 1815 by Alexander and Donald Johnston. It is located close to Port Ellen on the island of Islay. It is currently owned by Beam Suntory. The core range consists of the Select NAS, the 10, the 10 CS, the Quarter Cask, the Triple Wood and the Lore that was added in 2016. The lack of older stocks forces the distillery to launch more NAS Expressions. Unfortunately, the very nice 18 Years old was discontinued in 2015. In fact the Lore seeks to replace the 18 Years. 

The Lore was released in 2016. Lore means the verbal passing of tradition and skill and current Distillery manager John Campbell created the Lore to celebrate the fact that Laphroaig has been made this way during the last 200 years. The Lore is said to contain Spirit that is at least 7 years old but some 1993 vintage is in the mix as well. The Whisky matured in various types of casks that include First & Refill Ex-Bourbon casks ,First Fill Ex-Oloroso Casks and some Whisky that matured in Quarter casks and was finished in Virgin European Oak casks. It is not at all cheap with prices mostly in the 85-125 US Dollar range (April 2017).

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: I can understand the current dilemmas of the Whisky Market that has grown much faster as expected. This is mainly a result of the concentration of the production. Big companies have ample means to market their whiskies on a world wide scale, something that would be impossible if all distilleries would still be independent and/or family run. As a result of the fast growing consumption stocks have been dwindling at an alarming rate and many older whiskies needed to be discontinued and replaced by younger NAS Whiskies. Normally, younger whiskies should be cheaper than older ones and the industry needed to be resourceful to maintain - or even increase margins. As a result we are being bombarded by nice stories, beautiful names, exotic finishing, high ABV and...high prices. The Lore is a good example of this. It's basically a young whisky with added Wood contact and a small percentage of older Vintage Malt. That does not make it a bad Whisky of course and I would happily pay 50 US Dollars for a bottle. But at a 125 US Dollars the Price/Quality ratio sucks big time. The Lore simply is not worth that kind of money. Better stay with the 10 Years or the Quarter Cask.    

Jan van den Ende                                                                      April 24, 2017

Glenmorangie Milsean Review


“Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)”

Country: Scotland
Region: Northern Highlands
Brand: Glenmorangie Milsean (Private Edition)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
ABV: 46% 
Light Chill-Filtration: Yes 
Whisky Review # 612
Buying Advice: 😑  This is not my idea of a good Whisky. And it's way too expensive for Artificially Flavoured Candies. But that's just me!  

Colour: Full Gold with Red and Orange notes

Nose: Lighter than I had come to expect. Be sure to give the Milsean sufficient time in the glass. Initially I got some wafts of Varnish but they almost disappear with time. The Wine Finish is noticeable but the Ex-Bourbon casks have not been totally dominated. On the Nose the Milsean is indeed quite Sweet but the Sweetness comes across as slightly artificial. It does remind me a bit of the canned Fruit Cocktail in Heavy Syrup that was served on birthday parties when I was a kid. The one that usually contained Pineapple, Pear, Melon, Grapes and Cherries. Additionally I get some Apple as well.


I also find Buttered Toast, Icing Sugar, Vanilla, Toffee/Butterscotch, Coconut, Rum soaked Raisins, Orange, Plum Jam, Red Wine, Cinnamon, Ginger, Sweet Barley, Blueberry Muffins, Mint and a few Floral and Green notes that I can't pin down exactly. 

Palate: Not quite as Sweet as I expected after the Nose. Oak, Spices and a few Sour notes come into play as well. It's actually a little Thin despite the good ABV. I find Tutti Frutti Bubblegum, Icing Sugar, Vanilla, Toffee, Rum soaked Raisins & Sultanas, Coconut, Pineapple, Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, Nectarine, Bourbon, Buttered Toast, Ginger, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Aniseed, Menthol, Red Wine, Herbal Tea and a few Floral notes.  

Finish: Medium-Long. Very Sweet at first but quite Dry later on with a Metallic Off-Note and a rather unpleasant Woody Bitterness. This is easily the weakest part of this Malt. I find Honey, Icing Sugar, Strawberry Jam, Bourbon, Red Wine, Orange, light Pepper, Ginger, Clove, Menthol, Green Apple and hints of Tobacco and Herbal Tea.

I added a little Water and on the Nose I find Strawberry Candies, Fudge and Plum Jam. Palate and Finish become too Watery for my taste. Better sip it neat.

Rating: 81    

Nose: 21 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 19.5 - Overall: 20.5


General Remarks:

Glenmorangie was founded in 1843 and the production started in 1849. It was rebuilt in 1887 and was mothballed from 1931 to 1936. It is located in Tain in the Northern Highlands. Since 2004 it's in the hands of Moet Hennessy. The distillery was one of the first to experiment with different Cask Finishing. Today it's the 4th best selling Single Malt in the world.

The Milsean (Gaelic for Sweet Things) was launched late 2016 as the 7th release in the Private Edition series. The Spirit matured firstly in Ex-Bourbon casks before being finished for two-and-a-half years in 269 heavily toasted casks that previously matured Portuguese Red Douro Wine. The Private Edition series were created by Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie's director of distilling and whisky creation. With the Milsean he and his probable successor Brendan McCarron try to recreate the Aromas and Flavours that most of us will remember from the old-style Candy Shops. Label and Packaging are styled in the same fashion. It's not cheap for a NAS Single Malt with prices usually in the 100-120 US Dollar range (April 2017).
  
Drinking Experience Neat: Okay 

Conclusion: I like my Single Malt to be Well-Matured, Complex, Balanced with as much as possible Natural Aromas and Flavours and without any off notes. Unfortunately, the Milsean does not tick any of these boxes. There is a young feel to this Malt and the Red Wine Finish can't hide this fact. It's not at all a complex and balanced Whisky as its main drivers are Canned Fruit, Wood and Wood spice. It's all a bit Rough and Unfinished. The Aromas and Flavours seem artificial and there are a few unpleasant off-notes in the Finish. Does the Milsean remind me of a Candy Shop filled with Artificially flavoured Candies? Yes, it does. Is that my idea of a good Whisky? No it isn't.   

Jan van den Ende                                                                      April 20, 2017

Caol Ila 25 Years Review


“This Spirit Yearns to be Bottled at Cask Strength”

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Caol Ila
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 25 Years
ABV: 43% 
Chill-Filtration: Probably. 
Whisky Review # 611
Buying Advice: 😐 Neutral. Good Single Malt. Unfavourable P/Q ratio.

Colour: Close to Copper (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: The Smoke is there of course but it's quite subdued after 25 years in the cask. It's Smoked Fish/Shell Fish or even Bacon rather than Campfire Smoke. The Peat is there as well but it's more Farmyard than Coastal. Wet Clay and Straw mixed with Cow Manure to be more precise. I also find Sweet Toasted Cereals, Toast with Salted Butter, Vanilla, Toffee, light Tar, Soot and Iodine, Rubber, Tobacco, Oak, Leather, light Honey, Pineapple, Dried Fruit like Raisin, Plum and Apricot, Wet Newspaper, Wet Rocks, Sour Apples, Herbal Tea, Cinnamon, Pepper, Cloves, Grapefruit, light Licorice, Mint and a hint of Chocolate. It's a mix of Sweet, Sour, Dusty, Mineral and Herbal notes. The Balance is quite good in fact. The Alcohol is nicely integrated as well. I would imagine that mainly Ex-Bourbon casks were used but I do get some Sherry notes as well. Despite its 25 Years, this Caol Ila is not heavy on the Nose. Elegant and Subdued are the best words to describe it. Not stunning but quite nice. I just left my "Tasting Room" for a moment and upon return I noticed a clear Aroma of Wood Varnish coming out of the glass. Strange I didn't notice that earlier.

Palate: This Single Malt should have been bottled at at least 46%. I imagine though that it would be even better at Cask Strength. As it is, the Delivery is a bit on the Thin side. Despite this flaw, the Caol Ila 25 Years offers balance on the Palate with a good mix of Bitter, Sweet, Sour, Mineral, Herbal and Meaty Flavours. The Oak is there of course but it's not at all the dominant factor. I find Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Toffee, Caramel, Vanilla, Smoked Bacon, Fish or Shellfish, Soot, Tar, Ashes, Iodine, Grass, Apple Vinegar, Grapefruit, Pineapple, Sugar coated Almonds, Leather, Tobacco, Herbal Tea, Milk Chocolate, Pepper, Cinnamon, light Nutmeg, Ginger, Aniseed, Mint and a hint of Fresh Espresso.   

Finish: Long, Oily and Ashy with some Sweet, Bitter, Herbal and Mineral notes that are accompanied by some Spices. Dry towards the end. I find Sweet Barley, Smoked Fish, Ashes, Soot, Toffee, Caramel, Vanilla, Apple Vinegar, Grapefruit, Plum Jam, Tobacco, Leather, Charred Oak, Milk Chocolate, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Salty Licorice, Menthol, Herbal Tea and some Fresh Espresso.    

The Caol Ila 25 Years does not improve with added Water. 

Rating: 86.5       

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 21.5 - Overall: 21.5


General Remarks:

The Caol Ila Distillery was founded in 1846 and is located close to Port Askaig on Islay. It was bought by DCL in 1927 and through some mergers is now part of Diageo. The distillery was rebuilt in 1974 and only one old Warehouse reminds us of former days. Traditionally, Caol Ila is an important component of Blends like Johnnie Walker, Bell's and White Horse. But during the last 10 years Diageo has made great efforts to position the Distillery as a Single Malt as well. Caol Ila is beautifully located alongside the strait between Islay and Jura.

The first officially bottled Caol Ila 25 Years at 43% was launched in 2010 after two 25 Year old CS expressions were released in 2004 and 2005 respectively. The 25 Years is now part of the core range together a/o with the 12, the 18 and the NAS Moch. A 25 year old Vintage Single Malt is rare these days and it can't be cheap of course. Prices vary a lot depending on where you live but they are usually in the 140/200 US Dollar range (April 2017).

Drinking Experience Neat: Good.

Conclusion: The Caol Ila 25 Years is an elegant and well-balanced Single Malt. I really enjoyed the Tasting session. But it's also a lost opportunity to make a truly stunning Islay Malt. The ABV of 43% is simply too low. This Spirit would easily accept and in fact would truly shine at Cask Strength. In my opinion the price level of this Caol Ila would easily allow Diageo to bottle this Single Malt at a higher ABV or indeed at Cask Strength. There are only very few vintage Single Malts of this age around. The ones that are there should be Great, not merely Good! As a result of the above, the Price/Quality ratio for the Caol Ila 25 Years is unfavourable despite the fact that it is a very enjoyable Single Malt. How sad is that!   

Jan van den Ende                                                                      April 17, 2017

Arran Lochranza Reserve Review


“Young and Innocent”

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands - Islands
Brand: Arran Lochranza Reserve
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
ABV: 43% 
Chill-Filtration: No 
Whisky Review # 610
Buying Advice: 😃  Positive if you're starting to poke your Nose around Single Malt. Good Price/Quality Ratio. 😏 Too simple for Whisky vets.

Colour: Pale Straw/White Wine (Natural Colour)

Nose: Relatively Young but Fruity and Floral with both Sweet - and Sour Notes. I find Sweet Barley, Butter Kekse, Salted Butter, Vanilla, Toffee, Caramel, Straw, light Honey, Apple, Pear, Banana Ice Cream, Canned Pineapple, Orange, Lime, very light Sherry, light Oak, light Dusty Road, Cinnamon, Ginger and a nice Milk Chocolate note. The Alcohol is present of course but it doesn't spoil the party. On the Nose, the Lochranza Reserve is Light but Clean and Fruity. The Sherry cask influence is minimal. 

Palate: Despite the good ABV, the Delivery is on the Thin side. On the Palate, the Lochranza Reserve has both Sweet - and Sour Notes. It's a little Edgy and Nervous and its Youth is telling by now. I find Sweet Toasted Cereals, Caramel, Toffee, Green Apple, Orange, Lemon, Gooseberries, slightly Bitter Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger and a few Floral notes I can't quite pin down.  

Finish: Light, Short and Bitter-Sweet with some Sour - and Mineral notes and a few Bitter Tannins towards the end. I find Soft Cereals, Vanilla, Caramel, Toffee, Milk Chocolate, light Honey, Sour Apples, Gooseberries, Citrus, Cinnamon, Oak, light Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Menthol and a hint of Salted Licorice.

I added a little Water and on the Nose Creamy Cereals, Vanilla, Green Apples and Floral tones flourish. On the Palate and in the Finish it becomes too Thin. So better sip it neat. 

Rating: 81.5      

Nose: 21 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5


General Remarks:

Arran Distillery was founded by Harold Currie in 1993 and started production in 1995. Business is going so well that the owners (Isle of Arran Distillers) are in the process of building another distillery (Lagg) on the Southern part of Arran. Production of this new distillery could start in 2018. Exciting times on the island that I will visit coming May 2017. The Arran core range now consists of the 10, 12 CS, 14 and 18 Years alongside the NAS Expressions Robert Burns and Lochranza Reserve that I'm reviewing today.

Lochranza Reserve was of course named after the village where the distillery is located. It was launched in 2014 to replace the Arran Original. The Spirit for the Lochranza Reserve matures in Ex-Bourbon casks. Around 6-9 months before bottling, around 15% of the batch is transferred to First Fill Ex-Sherry casks. Right before bottling the 15% from the Sherry casks is married with the 85% that remained in the Ex-Bourbon casks. The Lochranza is of course a NAS Single Malt but I would estimate that the Whisky is bottled somewhere between 5 and 7 years. The Lochranza Reserve is not expensive with prices usually in the 35 to 40 US Dollar range (April 2017).

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Conclusion: The Short Finish of part of the Spirit in Ex-Sherry casks works out well in my opinion. It just gives an extra Fruity kick. Too much Sherry would almost certainly overwhelm the light and young Arran Spirit. As it stands, the Arran Lochranza is a light, Fruity and Floral Whisky, especially on the Nose. On the Palate and in the Finish however this Malt has a very young feel to it and it lacks Depth and Complexity. A good Whisky for beginning Single Malt drinkers but too young and not quite interesting enough for Whisky "veterans". The Price Vs. Quality ratio is good and will attract many consumers. Although even they might consider spending a few bucks more on the Arran 10 Years I reviewed earlier. I like the Arran concept and I'm a big fan of their Arran 18 Years. I just don't think the Lochranza is their finest hour!

Jan van den Ende                                                                      April 13, 2017

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