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Monday, June 4, 2018

Hazelburn 10 year old (current edition)

Good news everyone, it's HAZELBURN WEEK!

*boards up the windows as the riots begin*

I've been waiting to do a week of unfutzed-with Hazelburn for almost three years. Really. And now the time has come. I'm starting this week's Hazel trio with the current 10 year old. Its sparring partner is the whisky I'll be reviewing on Wednesday. The 10 year old is a bourbon cask Hazelburn, while Wednesday's is sherry cask Hazelburn.

Distillery: Springbank
Brand: Hazelburn
Region: Campbeltown
Age: minimum 10 years
Maturation: ex-bourbon casks
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfiltered? No
Colorant Added? No

It has my favorite whisky color: five beer piss. The nose leads with barley, lemon and milk chocolate. Notes of apple peel progress into apple cider vinegar. Wet dog, sand and clay. Hint of rosewater. Faint peat notes. Yeasty. Reminiscent of Tobermory 10. There's also something old school about it, perhaps it's the utter unsexiness. The palate starts off with fuji apples, barley, bran flakes and almond cookies. Very thick mouthfeel. A little bit of heat to it, but not bad. Anise, peppercorns and a mild sweetness. A lime note appears after 15 minutes and keeps expanding. The simple but lively finish has tart apples and lots of barley. Mild sweetness and mild pepperiness.

DILUTED TO ~40%abv, or <1tbsp water per 30mL whisky
The nose becomes more herbal and mossy. Sweeter too. Lemon zest, green apples, white nectarines and a toasty grain undertow. The palate is lean but not mean. Light herbal bitterness, honey and bran flakes. A sprinkling of yeast, drops of lime juice. Kinda beer-y at times. Its finish is sweet and tart. Lots of barley.

This is the best Hazelburn I've ever had. The casks, probably refills, get out of the way and let the (very good) spirit do its thing. At the same time, it's not under-matured. There's just a lot of whisky in this whisky. You'll have to take a look at the notes above to see if this suits your palate. It does well for mine.

It's too bad that a decent 10 year old single malt like this now costs $60+ (whether one buys it in The States or has it shipped from Europe). That's all that keeps me from buying a bottle.

Availability - many specialty whisky retailers
Pricing - $60-$75 US, $45-$65 (ex-VAT) Europe
Rating - 86


  1. I for one will not be pelting your home with eggs for Hazelburn Week! Hazelburn is fascinating, and this particular one especially so. I was given it as a Christmas present a couple of years ago but remember what you’re getting at with the vinegar, beer-ish notes. Somehow they add to the experience rather than detract: it gives this whisky intrigue and, what too few modern malts can boast, texture.
    Hazelburn is so paradoxical: triple distilled but with plenty of guts; unpeated yet always this oily, industrial dirtiness. I recently tried the 13yo Oloroso release and it’s one of the most interesting whiskies I’ve had for a while. On top of that, I don’t know where they get their butts from but hooray for bitter coffee, earth and heavy nut notes rather than the ubiquitous dried fruits and toffee.
    So here’s to Hazelburn, the second best spirit Springbank makes.

  2. Springbank doesn't exactly make it easy to get new drinkers into their distillery. Their production volumes are low enough that they probably don't need new customers, but it does make me wonder how loyal their following will be if fashions change.

  3. Hazelburn 10 is now $80-$100. That's how it is. The market for even young drams is moving up in the face of massive inflation and stimulus nonsense that will make even the most liquid of malt buyers cringe. Best to stock up now while you still can. I foresee a time in the not to distant future where not only the price of whisky exceeds reasonable consumers budget, but production changes. One of the main reasons why malts have risen in retail price over the past decade is that the Asian market has grown by leaps and bounds. Chinese are buying malts in record numbers even though many of them don't particularly like whisky in the first place. It's all about expendable income and status symbol malarkey of owning sought after malts. It's a double edged sword, isn't it? Good for the industry but bad for native consumers who are used to having their way with it. The 20s will be interesting...