KWM Whisky Advent 2015 Day 13 – Springbank Hazelburn 12 Year

Welcome to KWM Whisky Advent Day 13 – Springbank Hazelburn 12 Year

Hazelburn is the name Springbank Distillery gives to their unpeated triple distilled expression. It is a tribute to the Hazelburn Distillery which opperated in Campbeltown for a hundred years between 1825 and 1925. Campbeltown had at one point in the late 1800s over 30 active distilleries and was the self appointed whisky capital of the world. It is said, that for a few decades in the late 1800s Campbeltown was one of the wealthiest places per capita in the United Kingdom. These fortunes would not last forever, with all but three of the distilleries having vanished forever. One of the remaining, Glengyle, which bottles single malt under the name Kilkerran, also closed in 1925 and only reopened in 2000, in part to settle a score! The legacy of Campbeltown’s prosperous late 1800s is still visible all over the town in the form of old distillery buildings and stone mansions that once belonged to whisky barons.

Springbank is Scotland’s most traditional distillery, almost stubbornly so, and the oldest family owned distillery in Scotland. The distillery operates today much as it did 100 years ago with almost no automation. Springbank is the only distillery in Scotland to malt 100% of its own barley, and even continues to abide by a law rescinded more than half a century ago that prohibited distilleries from malting and distilling at the same time. The distillery is also one of the few to bottle on site. The town of Campbeltown is very important to the owner Mr. Hedley Wright, and he in turn feels duty bound to give back. Although the distillery produces but 1/50th the volume of distilleries like Glenfiddich, it employs more people, and is the largest employer in the town of 5,000. When he leaves this world Mr. Wright intends for the distillery to pass into the hands of three trusts which will ensure the distillery and all of its jobs remain in the town.

As hinted above, Springbank produces 3 distinct styles of single malt whisky. The regular Springbank is 2 1/2 times distilled (a very unusual practice of fractional distillation) and lightly peated. In 1973 Springbank started producing a heavily peated whisky, to be more of an Islay style single malt. The whisky was named Longrow after another closed distillery and is double distilled like the vast majority of Scottish malts. Hazelburn was first produced in 1997, and is an unpeated triple distilled single malt. Frank McHardy, the recently retired distillery manager worked for a spell in Ireland where triple distillation is more common, on return to Campbeltown he started producing this triple distilled whisky. It is a natural fit for the distillery which with Auchenstoshan is one of only two in Scotland with three pot stills.

Photo is from Alfred Barnard's "The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom"

Springbank Hazelburn 12 Year - 46% – Ex-Bourbon & Ex-Sherry – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: fresh, floral, decadent and doughy, like a French bakery; soft fruits, light citrus, melon and orange; a touch of sherry, nutty tones and dried dark fruits; Palate: there is some sherry here but not as much as earlier releases, I find it buttery and malty; soft leather, dark spices and dark fruits develop lending more sherry-forward weight; more bakery-doughy notes with floral touches, still nutty and some crisp citrus notes; Finish: drying with citrus and more floral malt; Comment: not as much candied fruit and sherry as some previous incarnations, but still a lovely malt! – $97.99 (last available price)

Order Springbank Hazelburn 12 Year – 750ml

Not presently in the market!

Hazelburn 10 Year – $75.99

&

Hazelburn Rundlets & Kilderkins – $108.99

Stay tuned for Day 14 of KWM Whisky Advent Tomorrow

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