When someone talks about triple-distilled whisky, Ireland usually comes to mind. If you specifiy triple-distilled single malt scotch, someone might name Auchentoshan or the silent (but soon to be revived) Rosebank distillery. Unless you're a real Campbeltown afficionado, you probably didn't know that Hazelburn, produced at the Springbank distillery, is triple-distilled. (well, you do now) It's also unpeated, unlike Springbank which is lightly peated or Longrow which is heavily peated. It's no secret that I'm a big fan of everything Springbank does. Just about every Scottish distillery leans heavily on tradition in its marketing, but at Springbank it's more than a slogan and a bunch of Gaelic names. As far as I know, Springbank is the only distillery to perform every part of the whisky-making process in-house. All of Springbank's whiskies are bottled at a minimum of 46% abv, presented at natural colour, and unchill-filtered. More distilleries need to get on board with this approach.
Without further ado, here are my tasting notes for Hazelburn 10 Year Old. According to the Internet (which never lies), this is 100% ex-bourbon cask maturation, which is a big plus for me.
November 26 2019
Tasted neat from a Glencairn glass
- Nose : honey, vanilla, icing sugar, brine, pears, a bit of ripe banana, and an umami note I can't quite place, mushroom broth perhaps (it sounds weird, I know...but it's pleasant)
- Palate: medium bodied, slightly oily, toffee, classic Springbank minerality but a little toned down, a bit of oak spice (mostly nutmeg)
- Finish: medium length, minerality lingering, then turning a bit dark and somewhat earthy like a dark roast coffee
- Thoughts: I’m going to take my time with this bottle, as it’s not as simple and straightforward as I thought it might be.
Initial Rating: 88/100
December 29 2019
Tasted neat from a Glencairn glass
- Nose : floral vanilla and honey upfront, stronger pear notes now, with less overripe banana than before, salted caramel in the background. The umami note is all but gone and a more generic oakiness has taken its place
- Palate : still pleasantly oily, toffee, oak, not smoky per se but reminiscent of the smell that lingers after you've burned a pile of dry leaves. Yes, I'm aware that I'm talking about smells on the palate, but it's all connected (google retronasal-olfaction if you don't believe me) and that's where this image comes in.
- Finish: medium length, warming, a slight but enjoyable "chalkiness" I find in all Springbank whiskies, sour green apples, banana, brine, vanilla, a touch of peat, and the umami note making an appearance. The dark roast coffee note is still there albeit less present than it was before.
Mid-point Rating: 89/100
January 30 2019
Tasted neat from a copita
- Nose: pears, honey, vanilla, icing sugar, the mushroom-esque umami note is totally gone, replaced by a more faint earthiness. Still quite interesting.
- Palate: oily, medium-bodied, apple skins, toffee, a touch of smoke
- Finish: medium length, toffee, slightly nutty, a touch of brine, darker and earthier than the palate, like strong coffee.
Final Rating: 89/100
Triple-distilled whisky may conjure up images of Ireland, but you should do yourself a favour and check out Hazelburn (if you haven't already). Heck, even if you aren't a fan of triple-distilled malts like Bushmills or Auchentoshan, Hazelburn is worth your time. You won't regret it.
- Would I accept a glass if was offered? Absolutely.
- Would I order this in a bar or pub? Without a doubt.
- Would I purchase another bottle? Yes. It's produced by Springbank. It's interesting. It's not drowned in wine casks. It's delicious.