Review: Hazelburn 8 years old

I picked this little beauty up as a christmas present from my mother in law. I know, I know, “what sort of lucky git gets good single malt from their mother in law?” Well this one it turns out!

Hazelburn, is essentially unpeated Springbank. Check here for some of my other reviews of Springbank whiskies.

Springbank distillery in Campbeltown has 3 core single malt expressions. Hazelburn, Springbank and Longrow. The first being unpeated, with Springbank having some peat and Longrow being heavily peated. I find that Springbank has a unique nose and that, to get to the bottom of it, trying Hazelburn really helps.

Here are the dramstats:

hazelburn8
  • Price £34.37
  • ABV 46%
  • No caramel, No chill filtration

Nose: Fresh bourbon cask and that unique nutty, salty, Springbank note. Salted tortilla chips, white pepper, sherbet and a hint of after shave.

Palate: Vanilla, both salty and sweet with white pepper.
Finish: White pepper and rich vanilla. Custard slice and a touch of orange peel on creme brulee.
Verdict: Lovely stuff. Very good bourbon casks here and very mature for an 8 year old. It’s young enough that you can get a handle on the raw spirit character without being overtaken by the cask, but it is not youthful. I have a feeling that older versions wouldn’t retain as much of the distillery character. An education and very enjoyable. If you are looking to get to the bottom of the Springbank nose (as I have been), pick yourself some of this up. Personally, now that I’ve had this education, I would spend my money on Springbank, which I just love and for which I now have an even greater understanding and appreciation.
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Glasgow whisky and Springbank Cask Strength 12yo

Mrs Dramstats and I try to make it up to Scotland a couple of times a year on holiday and we’d managed to get to Glasgow for a weekend in a nice hotel.

We always do some whisky things whilst in Scotland and on this trip the main things were a trip to Glengoyne (see this post for a review of that tour). Two other things we did were trip to the Pot Still and the Bon Accord. These are whisky pubs in Glasgow city centre that do things the right way! Glencairn glasses, hundreds of single malts, good beer and a good atmosphere. Check them out if you are ever up there.

Whilst in Glasgow we checked out a specialist spirits shop called the Good Spirits Company. You can find them on Facebook and twitter, but if you are ever in Glasgow I heartily recommend a visit.

The staff in the shop know their stuff and they are interested in talking to you and helping you. We got chatting and the guys there mentioned a tasting they’d had the previous night and asked if I wanted to try a couple of the more popular drams. I said I’d be delighted and so off my host went to fetch a couple of glencairns containing tasty samples.

Now the following is very important: I didn’t want to buy anymore whisky! It had already been a pricey trip and I’d picked up a bottle at Glengoyne, so the plan was to visit and maybe pick up a couple of nice real ales.

However, my intentions had not factored in the dram now in my hand. Cask Strength 12 year old Springbank with a startling nose and a palate that had me instantly ready to part with my cash! We ended up charmed and walking out of the shop having spent over £120 on 2 bottles of gin and a bottle of this.

Before reviewing the Springbank I want to thank the owners of the good spirits company for their hospitality and recommend the shop to you. The whisky was competitively priced, the owners knowledgable and friendly. I’ll be going back.

Anyhow, Springbank cask strength 12 year old. Here are the dramstats:

springbank12cs

  • ABV 52.2%
  • Non coloured
  • Non chill filtered
  • Price: £38 from the Good Spirits Company

Nose: Salty, dry roasted nuts, peat, dark sherry, HP fruity and spicy sauce. Complex with always something different vying for dominance with each sniff.

Palate: Salty chocolate covered roasted nuts. Roasted and smoked with peat. Dandelion and Burdock (sasparilla I think it’s called in the states).

Finish: Snickers bars, peanuts, chocolate caramel and nougat and it keeps coming. Excellent! Black liquorice, dandelion and burdock.

Verdict: This is a brilliant whisky. Absolutely fantastic. This new edition of cask strength Springbank really has ticked all the boxes for me and, at the price I found at the Good Spirits Company, I wish I’d bought 2!

Whisky Advent: Day 1

Welcome to the 1st of December and the first day of Advent. As regular readers will know I am the proud (and ridiculously excited) owner of one of the Master of Malt Whisky Advent calendars. Over the next 24 days I’ll be opening and reviewing the drams behind the numbered doors right here.

Mostly I’ll try to do my reviews on the day, but knowing how December is, there may be the odd day when two reviews are posted. I hope you enjoy this series, and that my excitement leaps off the pages!

So onto day 1.

Do you remember being a child? I mean really remember, when you were, say, under 10? Remember the excitement every morning in December when it was time to open the advent calendar? The chocolate inside was a real treat in the morning and it was exciting to open the mystery doors! Well I remember that excitement, but I’ve not felt it for 15 or more years.

Christmas is a nice time, but it’s not really exciting anymore. It’s been done, we know what’s going to happen, and, since every year seems so short now, it doesn’t feel long enough since the last time.

At least that’s how I felt until my whisky advent calendar arrived! As I opened the door on the first advent calendar I’ve had for a decade I felt that excitement again. That feeling has made the whole thing worth the money, and that’s before we try all of the treats hidden inside. So this is what the first open door looked like.

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And here is what was inside!

door1

SPRINGBANK!

A great way to start master of malt. An independent distillery who insist on craft presentation (higher ABV, no caramel, no chill filtration), and a distillery that constantly produces exceptional single malt. So, cap off, dram pour, December 1st, here are the dramstats:

  • ABV 46%
  • Age 10 years
  • Non coloured
  • Non chill filtered

Nose: Salty tangy peat layered with fruity sherry. Raisin, dry roasted peanuts, and roast chestnuts.

Palate:  Chocolate, salty coconut, raisin, dry roasted peanuts.

Finish: Snickers bar! Chocolate, peanuts, caramel with salt, peat and juicy raisin.

Verdict: Excellent dram from one of my absolute favourite distilleries. I’ve never been steered wrong by a springbank yet. This classic 10 year old is available in many bars, so if you see it, have a dram. If you’ve not sniffed a springbank it is a unique and absolute malt-must!

Loved day 1. Can’t wait for tomorrow now!