Right, it looks like I’ve been in a bit of a Campbeltown bubble lately when it comes to whisky. In the last few months, that’s mostly what I’ve bought in bottles. So today it’s time for another review from the Springbank stable. And that will be this recently released Hazelburn 13 year old, which, as the title of this review already suggests, has matured in Oloroso casks.

This 13 year old Hazelburn was first launched in 2017 and several batches have been released since then. Personally, I’ve never had the idea of buying this one before, mainly because of the combination of the somewhat lighter spirit of Hazelburn (the only Springbank that is unpeated and triple distilled) and the generally distinct Oloroso casks, as they can be rather dominant. That in itself doesn’t have to be a problem when done right, but still, my preference went out to other Springbank releases in recent years.

But! This year my curiosity seemed slightly bigger than my wallet, so I bought it anyway. And now is also THE time of year for a nice sherried dram, isn’t it? Yeah, I’d say so….

This Hazelburn has matured in Oloroso sherry casks and is bottled at a strength of 50.3% ABV.

Hazelburn 13 year old tasting notes:

Nose: Dried fruits, such as raisins and figs. A hint of plums. Oranges. It needs some time to really open up and then you get a bit of that Hazelburn character shining through. That oily dirtiness and that distinctive farmyard smell. Also a pinch of honey. A touch of leather. Cranberries too.

Taste: Plums. A hint of leather, plenty of tobacco. Some lovely bitter dark chocolate. Orange peels and cranberries, giving it a sour edge at some points. That same oily dirtiness as in the nose, but more in the background. There’s a bit of oak. A kick from spices, with a lingering heat from jalapeno peppers and cloves, but also thyme.

Finish: mid-long to long and somewhat dry. Cranberries and there’s a balsamic note too. A hint of oak, tobacco leaves and the same spices as on the palate.

Although the Oloroso casks really did their work (how could they not), the character of Hazelburn is still there as well, albeit it mostly in the nose and somewhat less on the palate. It’s definitely not an easy sipper, one that needs time to develop. But with a little bit of air and patience, the lingering heat from the pepper will settle a bit and it will reward you with new flavours with every sip.