Hazelburn 8yo Open Day 2024 & Kilkerran 20yo Open Day 2024


We're rounding off our Campeltown reviews with some Festival 2024 exclusives from Hazelburn and Kilkerran.

Hazelburn 8yo Open Day 2024

Region: Campbeltown

ABV: 52.8%

Price: £35.00 (35cl)

This Hazelburn release was bottled for the 2024 Open Day. It was aged in a mixture of bourbon and oloroso casks. Only 2,200 35cl bottles were made available.

Nose

The nose opens up with some salty sea air, cream puffs, preserved lemon rind, alongside a little toffee too. Going back, we’re finding toasted white bread, a little raspberry jam, fudge and blackcurrant cordial. The alcohol feels pretty well balanced in the nose, and we keep jumping back between the bourbon led notes and the sherry aromas, it’s quite interesting. We’re also getting a little green apple right in the background and a handful of dark chocolate orange segments.

Palate

The palate opens with some hazelnut nougat, dark chocolate bitters, black pepper spice moving into more of an apple turnover with some vanilla ice cream on the side. The second sip opens with more citrus, tangerines, orange rind, with a backbone of salty toffee. The mouthfeel is reasonable, not too viscous not but thin either, and we’re getting some ginger snaps pulling through into the finish which lingers on for a reasonable length.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose has a lot more of the sherry coming through, fudge chocolate fingers, orange juice, red currants, walnuts and a little nutmeg too. It still retains the salty, mustiness that we expect from the Campeltown malt.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate is a little sweeter, and in the same vein as the reduced nose, is more sherry forward. Some of those similar notes of fudge and orange juice are coming through, and overall the upfront spice has mellowed. There’s something slightly earthy and vegetal appearing here too.

Conclusion

It’s a tasty dram, with the sherry and bourbon playing well with each other, however it’s a bit too spicy for us. A few more years would have helped to round out some of those edges we think. It benefits from a few drops of water. We’d have another dram but wouldn’t rush to grab a bottle.

Score: 7/10

Value

Good value if you can pick this up at RRP. Sadly most won’t.


Kilkerran 20yo Open Day 2024

Region: Campbeltown

ABV: 49.2%

Price: £140.00 (35cl)

This Kilkerran release was bottled for the 2024 Open Day. It was aged in a rum cask for 10 years before being transferred into bourbon casks for a further 10 years. Only 432 35cl bottles were made available.

Nose

On the nose, this whisky shows notes of plasticine, raspberry syrup, dry porridge oats, and black pepper, complemented by a touch of golden syrup. There's a yeasty note reminiscent of proving bread, and we’re finding the spice is mellow, aside from a little black pepper. It’s got great alcohol integration. As the dram opens up over time, it reveals additional notes of pineapple, a hint of ginger, mango, candy floss, and papaya.

Palate

The palate, like the nose, has good alcohol integration, with heaps of sweetness most notably from mango and passion fruit. Behind these notes there’s a little ginger beer spice. Additional notes of lavender, melon, Jolly Ranchers and something almost soapy appear with time. The finish is a good length and maintains a good level of sweetness throughout. The mouthfeel is initially oily, but becomes a little watery as it lingers on the tongue.

Nose (with water)

Adding water to the nose results in a drier profile, with the plasticine note becoming more pronounced, and the fruitiness shifting toward darker, dried fruits like raisins, sultanas, and figs, with a hint of banana. Additional aromas of burnt brown sugar, honey, and vanilla also emerge with time.

Palate (with water)

Adding water to the palate results in a more watery mouthfeel and reduces the intensity of the flavours. It’s got a shorter finish and a slight bitter note reminiscent of grapefruit has emerged. The palate now features an abundance of citrus, with prominent notes of orange peel, orange bitters, and lime peel all appearing.. and the finish now has a fiery ginger beer dominating.

Conclusion

We acknowledge that some might enjoy this more than we did, as we often find whiskies aged in rum casks to be somewhat hit or miss. For us, this one leans more towards a hit than a miss, but it's far from being our favourite Kilkerran. Nevertheless, we can't deny that it's a good quality whisky

Score: 7/10

Value

At £140 it’s definitely not the usual great value the distillery offers. However, given the rarity of this release we can understand why it was priced as such. Better for the money to go to the distillery than flippers.

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  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

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