Monday, July 6, 2015

Experimental Whisky: Hazelburn/Tamdhu/Laphroaig Blended Malt

This blended whisky came about as I was tossing things together. Hazelburn 8 Year Cask Strength and Signatory Tamdhu 8 Year Cask Strength have both been staples of my blending projects, so I wanted to try them together. I eventually decided that the mix needed a bit more peat, so I added a drop of Laphroaig 10 Year Cask Strength. That really seemed to pull it together, especially after adding a bit of water, so I decided to make a more formal blend at roughly 50% ABV.

•12 mL Hazelburn 8 Year Cask Strength
•12 mL Signatory Tamdhu 8 Year Cask Strength
•1.5 mL Laphroaig 10 Year Cask Strength
•4.5 mL water

Hazelburn/Tamdhu/Laphroaig Blend

Nose: very green, mossy peat, seaweed, salty sea air, sweet malt, porridge, sherry, raisins, polished wood. After adding a few drops of water, some nice cured ham notes come out, the sherry takes on more berry character, the oak gets spicier, and the new make character is somewhat suppressed, coming out as pine instead,

Taste: fresh malt with mild sherry sweetness up front, quickly picking up mossy peat, fresh green vegetables, with polished oak and a Campbeltown twist near the back. After dilution, the oak becomes more prominent, integrating with the sherry and spreading across the palate, with the Campbeltown and Islay peat just riding above it.

Finish: Campbeltown and Islay character - both peat and malt, sea air, well-integrated oak

This feels like almost, but not quite, like a success. The Campbeltown character of the Hazelburn and the Islay character of the Laphroaig are a good balance for the cleaner Speyside character of the sherried Tamdhu. However I think the Hazelburn is just a bit too underdone to fit with the other two components, so it didn't come together quite like I would have hoped. I think what I'd like to do is remake this after I open up a bottle of Springbank 10 Year/100-proof, which should be similar but fit the profile better. This is a learning process.


  1. Wow, that's all it took was a little drop (8:8:1 ratio) of Laphroaig CS to get that peat. Was that the Batch 005? Laphroaig is a beast when it comes to blending.

    1. The Hazelburn inexplicably has a bit of peat as well, but it was mostly the Laphroaig CS 005. It's no wonder to me now that Laphroaig has been such a popular malt for blending - it's the definition of a little going a long way.