Hazelburn 21 (2023 Release) & Hazelburn 14 Open Day 2023


As the Campbeltown Malts festival comes to a close for another year, we're taking a look at the Hazelburn festival release alongside the 2023 release of the Hazelburn 21 year old.

Hazelburn 21 (2023 Release)

Region: Campbeltown 

ABV: 43.2%

Price: £255.00

The 2023 release of Hazelburn 23 is a batting of 80% bourbon, 10% port, and 10% sherry casks. We couldn't find any details on the number of bottles released.

Nose

Blackberries, warehouse mustiness, damp earth, leather aprons, a little zing from some lime juice as well as a little sour cherry and appletiser. We’re also getting light caramel and fudge sweetness appearing after a little while in the glass. There’s good alcohol balance, although maybe a touch too much peppery spice coming through at points.

Palate

The palate opens with fresh green apple, pineapple, lemonade, sweet oak, stroopwaffle, a light salinity moving into toffee on the finish. The mouthfeel is nice, there’s texture here although it’s not super viscous. We’re also finding a pleasant earthiness providing a nice backbone to the palate. There’s a fizziness that we get towards the end of the palate, reminding us of a white wine spritzer, and the sweeter parts of the finish linger on for a good while.

Nose (with water)

Water brings out more of the sherry and port in the mix, mustiness, red grapes, raisins, and maple syrup drizzled over pancakes. It’s also tamed some of the zingyness we experienced on the unreduced nose. It still has a backbone of that damp earth, and there’s a little bit of turmeric appearing too.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate begins with lots of sweet vanilla cream flavours up front, but then gets a little woodier on the finish. The mouthfeel is still decent, although we’d be careful not to add too much water as we think it could really kill the dram. We’re also getting black pepper and cinder toffee appearing.

Conclusion

We quite enjoy this, it’s a super drinkable, breakfast style whisky with a little something extra to keep it interesting. We enjoy the cask makeup being primarily bourbon, as we feel it works really well with the Hazelburn distillate. Prices are creeping up a little bit, but it’s still reasonable for a 21 year old whisky from Springbank. We’ll go with 8/10.

Score: 8/10


Hazelburn 14 Open Day 2023

Region: Campbeltown

ABV: 49.8%

Price: £40.00 per 35cl

The 2023 Open Day Hazelburn was matured in Oloroso casks for 14 years. 2,000 35cl bottles were released.

Nose

The nose opens with strong rancio, plums, cherry bakewell, leather and chocolate ganache. The sherry maturation provides the dominant notes here, however we do find a little bit of saline solution in the background. We’re also finding some burnt caramel, clove and double concentrate blackcurrant cordial. The alcohol has a nice balance, not too strong but you can still detect its presence.

Palate

The palate opens with a burst of black and red fruits, raisins, blackberries, blackcurrants, following into black pepper and sugar syrup. The whisky has a nice texture, not over oily but there’s body here, however we’re finding it quite hot as it develops on the palate, and we’re left with only chili heat after the medium length finish dissipates. Going back and we’re getting a fair amount of tannins, alongside heavy charred staves, toffee, dark chocolate and some filter coffee too.

Nose (with water)

Water brings more gentle notes of vanilla, warehouse funk, along with red fruits like raspberries and currants. Those overt sherry aromas have definitely subsided, bringing a little more balance to the dram. Any alcohol spice has pretty much disappeared and leaves a very pleasant nosing experience.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate begins softer, the black fruits are now stewed, there’s a good amount of sugar thrown in, a pinch of salt, but then the dram turns to heavily charred oak and tannins on the back end of the palate. Water has tamed some of the spice, but it’s still quite hot in places.

Conclusion

Perhaps not our favourite Hazelburn, for us the sherry has overpowered most the spirit, but also there’s a lot of heat and spice on the palate which needs taming. Saying that, there’s good whisky here, nice texture, quite a pleasant and endearing nose, and some will really enjoy this drier style. We’ll go with 7/10.

Score: 7/10

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  • 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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    1 comment


    • Steve Panter

      Interesting review of the Hazelburn 21. I bought the 2022 bottling at £190 (RRP). Quite a hike in 2023. Still bought one though!


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