Hazelburn 8 Year Old 2002 Sauternes Wood single malt scotch whisky

Springbank Distillery – Springbank Distillers

55.9% ABV, £49.95 from Master of Malt

Score 90/100

Hazelburn 8yo 2002 Sauternes

What they say:

5 years in refill bourbon casks, 3 years in Sauternes cask. Distilled in June 2002, bottled in February 2011. Outturn of 9180 bottles. Produced by the Springbank distillery in Campbeltown but bottled under the Hazelburn moniker after the nearby distillery closed in 1924. Most of the distillery buildings are still standing, though the distillery is long defunct. The newest addition to the range of whiskies produced at Springbank, Hazelburn gains it’s light, delicate character through being distilled three times in the distillery’s old copper stills. Hazelburn is made with unpeated barley, making the spirit light, fruity and very, very subtle.

Hazelburn Sauternes

What I say:

Produced by the Springbank Distillery, I purchased this from Tam’s Drams specialist whisky shop in Glasgow [no longer a high street store – just specialist whisky auctions only] after trying a sample dram. Wow! for 8 years old this has a lot going on. A simply superb whisky that absolutely proves that age isn’t everything! The balance between the peat of the spirit and the sweetness from the Sauternes cask is perfect. If anything the young age gives this a raw brutality to the whisky producing something more like a true Islay malt than a product of Campbeltown. I have seen and tried numerous whiskies that have used Sauternes barriques [casks] to finish including another of my favourites Tullibardine [review to come]. Sauternes is a sweet white wine from the Sauternes region in Bordeaux, France. Made from Semillon, Sauvignon blanc and Muscadelle grapes that have been fermented with the necrotrophic fungus Botrytis cinerea – common due to the Sauternes climate. This gives the grapes and wine distinct complex and concentrated sweet raisin flavours. Some of the best examples [superior premier cru] derive from the vineyards of Chateau d’Yquem.

Colour:

Burnt Amber.

Nose:

Sweet estery apples and lemon meringue followed by cereal malt and cinnamon spice.

Taste:

Oranges, apricots, cloves and pepper, warming and vaporous.

Finish:

A little oily peat smoke, butterscotch and fruity honey.

Would I buy it again:

If available, most definitely yes! Sauternes finish adds a huge raisiny sweetness that compliments the cereal and peat flavours of the whisky. At this strength this is a real fizz in a whisky glass, expect many people to be shocked after tasting to find out it is so young!