More than once I have been told that the folks at Springbank Distillery produce some really excellent whiskies. Nevertheless, I have not tried a drop of Springbank, Hazelburn or Longrow – which are the three different brands of their core range – for a very long time. So when I heard that Ranald Watson, Sales and Marketing Manager of Springbank, would host a tasting at this year’s whisky fair in Kiel, I knew I had to jump at this opportunity. One of the drams he presented was this 13-years-old whisky by Hazelburn matured in Oloroso Sherry casks. It is triple distilled (which is kind of unusual for a Scotch whisky) and limited to only 12,000 bottles. Although it was originally intended to be bottled at cask strength, a misunderstanding between Ranald and the production workers lead to this bottling’s ABV of 47.1%. Whether things really went down like this, I do not know. What I know, however, is that the Hazelburn 13yo Oloroso Cask is pretty much perfect as it is. I would not have wished for it to have a higher or lower strength. All in all, this is a really delicious whisky that on the one hand reminds me of the homemade strawberry marmelade I loved in my childhood, and on the other hand made me become an instant fan of Hazelburn.
Eye: Light gold with copper-red reflections.
Nose: The first impression you get is marzipan with lots of sweet raisins. Then there is also toffee and some spices such as cardamom and even a little hint of cinnamon.
Palate: The first sip takes you back to your grandmother’s kitchen, where she cooks sweet strawberry marmelade with fruits freshly picked from the garden. Then, when she has finished her work, you take a spoonful of the marmelade, put it on a tiny piece of toast and top it with some clotted cream and a few chocolate sprinkles. Then you remember: The secret ingredient of granny’s marmelade has always been a good shot of sherry.
Finish: The chocolate turns into coffee, the strawberries turn into oranges. This delicious, fruity mixture stays on your tongue for quite some time.
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 13 Years
Alc. volume: 47.1%
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Price range: ~70.00 Euro
More info: http://www.springbankwhisky.com/whisky/hazelburn/ (Distillery)