Not all Scotch regions were created equally, and neither have they aged with equal grace – or solvency. The Campbeltown region once had over thirty distilleries yet now only three remain. While Hazelburn was a distillery in Campbeltown, it closed in 1926 in part due to the rise of prohibition in the U.S. and beyond. This current spirit, however, is a bottling by one of the three surviving distilleries in town, Springbank. It also holds the distinction of being one of only two distilleries in Scotland to perform every step in the whisky making process; the other is Kilchoman. The Hazleburn is triple-distilled (you can tell from the picture on the bottle of three pot stills) and is non-peated. The distillery’s peated offering, Longrow, and the main Springbank whisky have all won awards. Is the Hazelburn in the same class? It should be noted that this is Scotchology’s first Campbeltown.
Age: 12 years
Nose: Buttered toffee, lemon/citrus oil, smoke, tobacco
Palate: Tobacco, brown sugar, leather, hot, mineral
Finish: Burnt toffee, spiced gumdrop
Comments: Water alters the character a bit and a few drops can help cut the edge, but doesn’t drastically alter things.
Adam – Homey, in an odd sort of way. Or like the memory of home, which is different every time you actually visit. A little faded leather, a little sweetness, nothing too wild but not unpleasant. I enjoy the smell but even with water this Scotch can be very hot at times. The finish is very short. I like that this is very different than most other Scotches I’ve had, in that it forces me to broaden my palate in terms of what can make a Scotch. Will I ever fall in love with this? Even though I haven’t yet, who’s to say what may happen in a few years. The important thing is I can still appreciate and find aspects of it to enjoy.
Kate – Reminds me of visiting Williamsburg as a kid. Tobacco, a candy factory, the smell of faded leather. Still not sure how I feel about it overall, but I liked it more the second time than I did the first.
Meghan – Growing up, the family business was the wholesale of candy and tobacco. The Hazelburn smells like the warehouse; a highly distinctive, almost indescribable odor of smoke, sweet, and slight mustiness. There is leather on the front palate with a touch of molasses. The mid-palate has a rock-like minerality (we will bypass why I know what rocks taste like) that finishes with a strange spiced gumdrop aftertaste. I get a long heated finish through the chest though no one else seemed to feel it. The Hazelburn is different from our previous Scotches. Whether a good difference, bad difference, or merely just different is yet to be determined. I am interested in trying other Campbeltown’s to see if there is a similarity in the difference.