Tasting Notes for Hazelburn 10 Year Old
Nose: Stewed pears and baked apples are followed by honeycomb and fudge notes.
Palate: A lovely and rich whisky with vanilla and honey flavours, liquorice follows with a refreshing zestiness.
Finish: A refined milk chocolate cream finish that is oily and chewy.
Hazelburn is a unique, triple distilled single malt that is now part of Springbank Distillery's core range. The inspiration for the creation of a triple distilled single malt, which is more typically Irish than Scottish in style, came when head distiller Frank McHardy returned from working at Bushmills Distillery, just over the other side of the Irish Sea. Hazelburn 10 years shares many characteristics with Bushmills, such as triple distillation and the absence of peat, but is also unmistakeably Campbeltown, with more weight and depth allowing the Springbank malt to shine through. Matured in bourbon casks and bottled at 46% abv, this relaxed and flavoursome whisky is a perfect summer dram.
Springbank Distillery, many a Scotch lover's cult favorite distillery, produces three different single malt whiskies at their home in Campbeltown on the Kintyre peninsula. The flagship, Springbank, represents the vast majority of their relatively very small annual production of 750,000 liters. It is 2.5 times distilled and lightly peated. Longrow is their twice distilled heavily peated malt, named for a now shuttered distillery down the road from them in Campbeltown. The third, and smallest in terms of annual production, is Hazelburn (also named for a shuttered Campbeltown distillery). Hazelburn is produced in a style rarely seen in Scotland, triple distilled and completely unpeated, showing a much gentler side to Springbank's stellar malt.
Springbank Distillery was founded by William Reid in 1828 and was built on the site of the previously illicit still used by Archibald Mitchell. Like many smugglers, Reid didn’t survive long once he joined the legitimate trade and in 1837 financial troubles forced him to sell the distillery to his in-laws John and William Mitchell. The distillery has been in the hands of the Mitchell family ever since and is now ran by current Chairman, Hedley G. Wright, John Mitchell’s great, great grandson – the fifth generation of the Mitchell family to own and manage Springbank.
The 19th and early 20th centuries were a boom time for the Campbeltown area where Springbank is located. Thanks to a fast sea crossing to Glasgow and a small coal seam at nearby Machrihanish it became Scotland’s whisky capital. At some point or other there were 35 distilleries operational. The style tended to be medium- to heavy-bodied, with some smokiness and an oily texture (though each distillery would work its own variation on this theme). The distilling trade, however, collapsed in the 1920s. All of Scotland was affected with 50 distilleries closing, but Campbeltown was disproportionately affected, with only Springbank, Glen Scotia and Hazelburn surviving the Great Purge. By the 1960s only Springbank and Glen Scotia were left.
That is not to say Springbank was immune to the vagaries of the whisky trade. Despite beginning to build a reputation as a single malt, Springbank was mothballed between 1979 to 1987. On reopening, owner Hedley Wright made the momentous decision to no longer sell to blenders, but develop single malt sales. Maltings were re-opened in 1992 and while the combination of managing limited stocks – the result of the mothballed period and somewhat over-eager sales of what was left – it has taken a number of years to get the Springbank range fully balanced, which now it is. It remains, deservedly, one of Scotland’s cult malt whiskies and a template for many new distillers.
The Springbank distillery produces three uniquely different Scotch single malts: Longrow, Hazelburn and Springbank. The difference is achieved by using Springbank's three stills in different combinations as well as adjusting the peat levels. Longrow is the most traditional of the three; well-peated and distilled twice. Hazelburn is bereft of peat and enjoys a triple distillation and Springbank is lightly peated and, rather curiously, distilled two-and-a-half times. Both Hazelburn and Longrow have been revived recently after a few years of silence and both are named for ancient distilleries adjacent to the site.
Producer Springbank Distillery Style Campbeltown Single Malt Scotch Whisky Age A minimum of 10 years Volume 70CL ABV 46%