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Besides the Hazelburn 8 Year Old Small Casks for Belgium I also tried this official release of the Hazelburn 12 Year Old. It was not a fair battle. This four hear older whisky is more robust, fuller and simply put better.
This one is rather dark, an intense amber. This was clearly a sherry cask. The beads in the glass promise good things to come.
The nose is very aromatic and a lot more complex then the younger brother. Ik get a rich, fruity nose with raisins, plums, red berries bathing in sherry (somewhat drying) and nuts. A truckload of caramel, walnuts and even some Italian coffee. Oh, my, there is even brown sugar and rum! Slightly waxy. This is very good indeed!
Once past the lips, the sweet-bitter interplay goes crescendo: coffee, vanilla, malt, Turkish delight, tobacco, … Wow!
The drying finish – that lasts longer than it takes for my wife to get dressed – is spicy and reveals a touch of brine at the death.
This is truly an aromatic top dram for those who like their whisky sweet. I fear it may be a bit too much for some. The cost of this one is the same as the 8 Year Old Small Cask for Belgium – around 60 EUR – but worth every penny. This is a choice easily made.