Today we turn our attention to the least loved Springbank distillate, Hazelburn. The triple distilled, unpeated spirit, that’s fractionally easier to get your hands on than the distillery’s other output.
Hazelburn 12 Year Old Sherry Wood (2023 Release)
This release of Hazelburn sherry wood was as usual matured exclusively in oloroso sherry casks. This release was limited to 9,000 bottles.
Initially we’re getting chocolate, lightly roasted coffee and caramac bars. As it sits in the glass it develops notes of prune juice, treacle, fudge, and Christmas cake. There’s not a huge amount of Campbeltown funk, but It’s an incredibly inviting nose for anyone who loves a well sherried dram. Going back to it one last time and we can pick out some a sherry vinegar and raspberry jam.
The promise of the nose is delivered on the palate and we’re getting treacle, fudge, and Christmas cake in abundance. It’s got a good length finish with lots of sherry sweetness lingering along with a little a spice from chilli and ginger. It’s also got really good alcohol integration with just the right amount of alcohol bite here, and a great mouthfeel that really coats your tongue. As we go back to it we’re noticing caramel, prunes, and just the slightest bitterness from dark chocolate.
Nose (with water)
Water doesn’t make huge changes to the nose but it does brings out more caramel, and dark chocolate sweetness. Along with it we’re now able to detect more of the Campbeltown DNA and along with it some porridge oats and a hint of lime. As we compare this to the unreduced nose we notice the treacle, fudge and Christmas cake notes are slightly diminished by the water.
Palate (with water)
Water has has reduced the bitterness we were getting from the dark chocolate and brought out a little coffee. Saying that the notes on the palate remain more or less the same post dilution and it’s retained the good length finish. The texture of the mouthfeel is a little diminished, and it’s for that reason that we’d personally skip adding water. For us this is at the perfect ABV.
Can you tell we like this one? We’re very sensitive to sulphury whiskies and happy to report we’re getting none of that from this release. It’s just really good whisky. Saying that, if we put our glasses down for a second and put our critics hats on then we have to admit while very tasty, it’s a touch one dimensional, and just a little less interesting than other drams we’ve had recently. However, sometimes we just want to sit down to enjoy a dram that doesn’t challenge us and this one fits the bill perfectly. Hopefully the bottle we got lasts till Christmas as this one would be a great dram to warm us up on on a cold night. It’s an easy 8/10 for us, verging on an 8.5.
You can find our other Hazelburn sherry wood reviews below. Spoilers... this release is our favourite of the last few years beating out the two bottles reviewed below and the 2021 release (that we will at some point review for the blog).
For those of you who can’t get enough of J&A Mitchel releases, we've got reviews of the new Springbank Local Barley and Kilkerran 8's. Finally, we’ll also be forcing ourselves to try the new Springbank 25 this week with our review of the bottle planned for Friday.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.