We’re taking a break from our Fèis Ìle reviews to head over to Campbeltown to try the latest Hazelburn releases.
Both of these drams feature in our 4th Dram Club release, where you can try high quality, rare whisky by the dram.
Hazelburn 21 (2022)
The mix for the first release of Hazelburn 21yo was 70% Sherry casks married with 30% Bourbon casks. There are just 3,600 bottles released.
Initially we’re finding the nose very fruity, and are getting notes of raisins, strawberries and cherries. Going back to it after some air, we’re getting a slight cinnamon spice along with buttery warm caramel. There’s also some ginger snaps and chocolate. We’re loving the nose on this and have high hopes for palate…
The cinnamon from the nose has carried through to the palate, and along with it there’s some liquorice and chilli. Actually it’s less liquorice and more Black Jack sweets for anyone who remembers those. There’s also sweet notes of treacle and golden syrup. We were expecting more fruit / sherry notes, but we’re only getting slight hints of raisins and cranberries. This has a nice alcohol bite with a medium length finish with a little dark chocolate lingering.
Nose (with water)
With water we’re finding more of the bourbon cask influence shines through, now there’s more chocolate and vanilla / sweet caramel on the nose. There’s also a burnt note that not smoke, but very similar. We’re also getting a little mustiness, toffee brittle, and some cherries.
Palate (with water)
Water tames the heat on the palate. Like the nose, we’re getting more caramel / bourbon influence. There’s also some strawberries and raspberries. This still has a medium finish with water.
A pleasant dram, that’s good value for the age of the whisky, but if we’re honest we’re slightly disappointed because the fruit notes / complexity of the nose didn’t completely carry through to the palate. We’d rather nose this than drink this, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t really enjoy it. This is an easy 8/10.
Hazelburn 15 Sherry Wood (2022)
The 2022 release of Hazelburn Sherry wood is a marriage of 100% oloroso sherry casks. 9,000 bottles were released.
On the nose we’re initially getting a little ash, leather and dirt. We’re finding the Campbeltown funk is more noticeable on the 15yo than the 21yo. There’s also a hint of raisins, some honeycomb, treacle, a little orange and ginger. We’re not getting as much sherry cask influence from this as we were expecting.
We’re finding the palate is a touch hot for the ABV. Tasting this blind we would have guessed this was bourbon finished in sherry. We’re getting hints of prunes, figs, treacle a big hit of tobacco and liquorice. Going back to it and we’re getting some brown sugar, and cinnamon. This has a good mouthfeel and finish with pepper and espresso lingering on the tongue.
Nose (with water)
The addition of water brings out a little more meatiness from the sherry casks along with some prunes, and a little chocolate sweetness. It’s also gained a salty /coastalness. We’re also still getting some oaky sweetness that we’d have guessed came from bourbon.
Palate (with water)
Like the reduced nose on palate there’s now more sherry influence and we’re getting even more figs now, along with some raisins, sweet sugar cane, and a touch of honey. We’re still finding this a little hot, but not overly so. There is now more of a chilli spice on the finish along with aforementioned coffee.
We’re big Springbank fans and have high expectations for their releases. While this isn’t bad, it fell short of our high hopes. We were expecting a sweet / fruity sherry hit from this, but instead got subdued sweetness and more leather / tobacco style notes. Some people will love this, but for us it’s a 7/10.
- 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.
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