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Friday, June 8, 2018

Hazelburn 8 year old Cask Strength (bottled 2010)

There was some Hazelburn 10yo left over from earlier in the week, so I was able to compare it to today's whisky in order to get some perspective on these whiskies. They're both spent their time solely in ex-bourbon casks, an approach that worked better for me than the sherry cask flop of the old 12yo.

This 8yo cask strength release seems to have been from a single cask, and may have been bottled exclusively for the American market. It was released back in 2010, but winesearcher says there was at least one retailer still selling it as of last month. Hazelburn is not the sexy sibling of the Springbank family.

Distillery: Springbank
Brand: Hazelburn
Region: Campbeltown
Age: minimum 8 years
Maturation: ex-bourbon cask
Bottle code: 10/426
Outturn: 228 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 56.5%
Chillfiltered? No
Colorant Added? No
(from a sample swap with Jordan of Chemistry of the Cocktail. Thank you, Jordan!)

Its color is light straw. So far so good. The nose starts off with anise, orange peel, strawberry jam and cocoa powder. Some roses and cinnamon. The orange peel note shifts to orange blossoms. Not too much burn overall. More marzipan than vanilla on the palate. Very mineral, along with tart citrus and a hint of florals. The sweetness grows with time, while a sriracha zap also develops. The citrus gets sweeter in the warm, salty and peppery finish.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 4tsp water per 30mL whisky
The nose's fruit gets more tropical. Musky melons. Lemons bars, roses and butterscotch. The palate is TART, but good. It has an almost syrupy thickness to its mouthfeel. Still has the minerals and hot pepper sauce. The herbal note grows. A slight burnt note around the edges. Lemons, minerals, herbal bitterness and salt it the finish, which also has that subtle burnt thing.

Well, it's my second favorite Hazelburn this week. My take on this bottling sits somewhere between Jordan's and MAO's. It's far from perfect whisky, but the nose is very good with its fruit and botanicals. The palate is a bit narrow. Either water doesn't open it up, or I needed to add more water. I'd definitely drink this whisky again, but another eight years in what was clearly not an overactive cask might have resulted in something very fun. If you missed out on this release, like I did, don't worry. Just go for the regular 10yo.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 82

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