Hazelburn Duty Paid Sample Warehouse 5 Rotation 53 14yo Fresh Sherry

This Wednesday, we're taking it easy by reviewing something we're relatively confident will be good.

Hazelburn Duty Paid Sample Warehouse 5 Rotation 53 14yo Fresh Sherry

Region: Campbeltown

ABV: 54.4%

Price: £80.00 

We’ve been planning to review more "cage bottles" especially now that they’ve effectively become single cask releases and are more readily available. This 14-year-old fresh sherry release, distilled on the 10th of June 2008, seems like an excellent place to start.


Initially, the nose presents toffee fudge ice cream, dry wood, ash, tobacco, raspberry, and a hint of cherry—specifically, cherry Bakewell tart. It's not particularly spicy, but there's a faint presence of pepper and cinnamon, and one might guess it was a lower ABV. With a bit of time and exposure to air, the aromas expand to include vegetable crisps, coffee grounds, dark chocolate, gingerbread, dates, and, of course, some distinctive Campbeltown funk.


The first thing we notice is the lovely syrupy mouthfeel. On the palate, flavours of treacle, honey, cinnamon, raisins, sultanas, dates, pepper, sweet chili, and fig emerge. The finish is a medium length, where the cinnamon spice lingers beyond the sweeter notes. Upon revisiting, additional notes of dry wood, Sicilian lemon, burnt coffee, cardamom, and Christmas cake become apparent.

Nose (with water)

Adding water enhances the sweetness and syrupiness of the dram, and introduces notes of warehouse funk and must. The dominant notes now include plain rice crackers, strawberry laces, fresh cherries, and the essence of summer fruits diluted juice. Additionally, there are hints of beef olives covered in gravy accompanied by strawberry fondant reminiscent of Quality Street.

Palate (with water)

With water, the spice diminishes, yet the dram feels drier to the palate. Notes of orange peel, ash, golden syrup, and honey are prominent. The mouthfeel becomes slightly thinner, but the sweeter notes are now persisting on the finish. Additional flavours of red fruits, dark chocolate, cinnamon, prunes, caramel, and fudge also make their presence known.


This is a solid sherried Hazelburn that’s easy to drink, with or without water. We do have a few minor quibbles with it such as the length of the finish and for that reason, we’re rating it a 7/10.

Score: 7/10


These "cage bottles" offer great value if purchased directly from the distillery. Unfortunately, they become less so if acquired through an auction.

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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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