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Hazelburn 8 yo ‘Sauternes Wood’ (2002/2011, OB, 55,9%)

Traveling as we are among the lands of Scotland, today we return to what was once the capital of whisky, namely Campbeltown: as you know, the Springbank Distillery has three different versions (this one, this one and this one); as you know, the Springbank Distillery loves to experiment with barrels and woods and finishes of various kinds, often – how to say – unorthodox. This Hazelburn is the triple distillation version, and after 5 years in refill-bourbon barrels it spent three years in barrels containing Sauternes. Will it be true glory? Let’s smell… The colour is copper.

HAZOB.2002

N: the alcohol is not hidden, but the overall effect is a warm, open, inviting nose… Despite the three years in Sauternes, it is not ‘vinous’, but the barrel still offers spices (cloves, Christmas cookies with ginger and cinnamon?) and dehydrated fruit (a lot of apricot , then plums, coconut…). Orange jam and a bit of apple… to complete a nose that, as you can see, is really very fruity and warm. Compared to the 12 years of the core range, maybe the wine finish covers a bit the ‘fleshy’ notes of Springbank, which however remain a little bit.

P: the attack is dominated by a spicy wood, not at all discreet… But also the soul of the distillery is revealed, with a restless malt, among slightly metallic and ‘fleshy’ notes. Then a bittersweet (caramel) fruity malt (apricot, jam), with exuberant citrus fruits (orange uber alles). Brioche. We recommend two drops of water to round and add heat.

F: brioche and peat (?); lots of apricot, again.

Certainly it is a whisky very exposed to the oscillation of personal taste – and we, incidentally, like it – and certainly has a demanding personality, all built on the characteristic soul of Springbank malt and French woods marked by grandeur, really very marked. In short, a built whisky, which someone (like Serge, for example) won’t like too much; but we don’t think that the ‘construction’ of a whisky is negative in itself, and 86/100 seems to us the most appropriate judgement.

Recommended soundtrack: Black Sabbath – Orchid

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