While Springbank has featured dozens of times on this blog, I’ve only ever reviewed less than a handful of its unpeated, triple-distilled sibling, Hazelburn. In short, it has some catching up to do on Words of Whisky, starting with the Hazelburn 2006 15 Years Oloroso Cask Matured that was released just a few months ago.
Of the three different spirits produced at Springbank Distillery (the other being Longrow), Hazelburn is usually the most overlooked. That’s relatively speaking of course, because even the least beloved Springbank product is still ten times more adored than most other whisky brands. It’s just that so many paragraphs are spent writing on Springbank that there’s not much ink left for Hazelburn.
Furthermore, there’s just less of it available. It’s not called Springbank Distillery for nothing. For example, in 2021 the distillery produced 220,000 litres of Springbank, but just 30,000 litres of Hazelburn. And this has been the case since Hazelburn was first distilled at Springbank in 1997. They’ve always produced just a fraction of it compared to Springbank.
If I’ve been counting correctly, this is the fifth in a series of Hazelburn Oloroso Cask Matured releases. The oldest also. Only 9,000 bottles of the Hazelburn 2006 15 Years Oloroso Cask Matured were released and all have been snapped up quickly from what I can gather. The only ones still available are being offered at a premium.
Hazelburn 2006 15 Years Oloroso Cask (54.2%, OB, 2022)
Nose: A clean sherry influence, that’s a good start. A tinge of mint combined with leather, chocolate-covered raisins, damp earth and dried fruits. Some figs, blackberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon too. A textbook example of what I’d like my sherry-matured whisky to be. Taste: Spot on again. Somewhat dry yet viscous. There’s leather and tobacco with a hint of oak spice, but also mocha, chocolate and nutmeg. Then some hessian, blackberries and a tinge of smoke. Really satisfactory. Finish: Slightly tannic, some furniture polish and lingering oak spices. Long.
This is good. Like really good. I expected it to be good, but it is better than I thought it would be. Maybe it's not very Campbeltown-esque (not in the way Springbank is), but the clean Oloroso sherry casks and excellent spirit are a great tandem.