Hazelburn 2007 9 Years Old (Barolo Cask)
Of course, Hazelburn isn’t a distillery. Or at least, it isn’t anymore. It was established in 1825 and was in production for just over a century. Nowadays the distillery lives on through the namesake triple-distilled spirit produced by Springbank.
Springbank has a capacity of 750.000 liters of alcohol per annum, although I don’t think they ever actually reach that number. Of Springbank’s production, about ten percent is dedicated to Hazelburn. Indeed, Hazelburn is pretty rare. That’s not to say you’ll have difficulty getting your hands on a bottle. It’s not a major brand, flippers don’t go crazy for it, so you should be able to get it at most decent shops.
Onto the whisky at hand, a 9-year-old Hazelburn that was released a few years ago, having had a second maturation of three years in refill Barolo casks. Barolo is an incredibly rich and often tannin-heavy wine from Italy.
Hazelburn 2007 9 Years Old (57.9%, OB, 10,800 bts)
Nose: Very mild, gentle and pleasant initially. A hint of cough drops, but also ripe apple and banana, accompanied by straw and burlap, as well as a touch of macadamia nuts. Enticing stuff.
Taste: Soft notes of tobacco and malted barley, a hint of soot even, but also peaches and prunes, then a touch of earl grey, but also a whisper of lemon zest. It’s not your average whisky, which is no surprise given the source. A fair amount of chili heat as well.
Finish: Medium in length. Peppery.
Adventurous and fun, and I kind of love it and want to give it an even higher score, but there’s just not enough balance to warrant doing that.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.