Monday, January 7, 2019

Whisky Review: Hazelburn 10 Year

Hazelburn has been one of Springbank's expressions without a super stable lineup. For some time there were an NAS CV expression, an 8 Year from a mix of bourbon and sherry cask, and 12 Year entirely from sherry casks. There has been a major revision since then with the CV disappearing along with the rest of that lineup, the 8 Year being replaced by this 10 Year, and the 12 Year being phased out in favor of an annual Sherry Wood release at cask strength.

This whisky was aged exclusively in ex-bourbon casks, then bottled at 46% without coloring or chill filtration.

I purchased this sample from

Via Springbank Distillery
Hazelburn 10 Year

Nose: lots of fresh malt and corn, something sour/beer-y, vanilla, light fruit/berry esters, orange peel, very light oak. After adding a few drops of water it loses some of the sourness and becomes more integrated, the oak becomes musty, and some coastal character emerges.

Taste: sweet up front, but quickly joined by an overlay of sour malt through the middle, a smoother fade out at the back with caramel, something savory, and light oak. After dilution the sourness is reduced, more oak comes out to give it better balance and an almost sherried quality, there is some vague fruitiness in the background throughout, and a little coastal character comes out around the middle.

Finish: moderately sweet malt, sherried oak, a little sour, dunnage, savory fade out

I'm surprised to say it, but this was one whisky where I wish they had used more active casks. My favorite Hazelburns have been the ones with a significant amount of cask influence in tension with the spirit itself. Dilution helped to push it more in the direction I wanted, but it lost some of the intensity at the same time. While this has potential, it ultimately feels underdone and raw at full strength to me. Not nearly as bad as the 8 Year Cask Strength, but closer to that or the CV than the Bourbon Single Cask I was hoping for. While this is a good effort, but it's making me thankful that I didn't buy a bottle blind.

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