Springbank’s Triple Distilled 2021 Limited Release
Hazelburn is a label I tend to shy away from. I find the core 10-Year bottle to be too delicate and a bit uninteresting for the price. Quite a few other drinkers I’d rather buy that are half the cost of the 10-Year. The annual releases have always piqued my interest.
The 2021 release hit the US around November of that year and I promptly purchased a bottle. A cask blend of 75% ex-bourbon and 25% ex-sherry, bottled at a respectable drinking proof. However, I must admit an unsatisfying proof for an annual release. My notes represent my first tastings as well as my last. From fresh crack to bottle kill.
Tasted neat in a Glencairn and a Laddie Dram glass with 25+ minutes of rest. Dilution added throughout the tasting at varying levels and settled on 6 drops typically.
Very light and delicate note. A familiar floral Springbank-esc malt. Apples, pears, and a subtle plum note. Savory, sweet grilled vegetables. Yams and carrots. Charred meat and robust tobacco aromas. Over time those fruit flavors became more tropical. A fruit basket medley. Dried pineapple, plantains, apricot, and tart mango even. Heavy, oiled leather strop. Cherrywood and cedar chips and sawdust. Sweet floral barley with vanilla, nutmeg, and raw ginger. Medicinal fruit but not cherry. More akin to persimmon or craisins. Toasted almonds in a sweet almond pound cake.
Quite a savory palate with more peppery seasoned grilled meats. Mild apple cider or calvados flavor. Salted butter, cloves, and slightly sweet biscuits. Noticeable sherry influence with grapes and sultanas. There’s a tart and acrid flavor that I do not enjoy but increasing the rest time helped. With my last pour, the fruited bitterness had faded dramatically. Cherry and almonds were dominant and incredibly delicious. The sherry musk was ever present on the palate and brought with it a slight metallic sip. Less savory with more leather notes but a touch of saline was still present.
The finish was all bitter digestif. Dark cocoa powder and a rich oak presence. The malty apple flavors really can be found from nose to finish. More baking spice evidence on the finish with white pepper, cloves, and allspice. The final glass brought a sharp peppercorn and baker’s chocolate finish. Sweet honey-glazed grilled summer pears and pineapple. There’s also a bit of charred meat in here as well. Lastly, and it’s difficult to untaste, but distinctly raisin bran. Slightly sweet but mostly that wheat bran flavor.
Reading my notes from when I first popped the cork and I described it as “growing on me but ‘good’ whisky”. I will fully admit by the time I poured the final dram, I did indeed enjoy it quite a bit more. I still described it as simply “Good”.
Nothing seems to excite me much with this bottle. It’s one of those bottles that does its job well and may go unnoticed a bit on the shelf. That time in an open bottle was needed to fully develop. It homogenized those fruits into a more palatable and consistent glass.
I still seem to find this release on shelves as well as on secondary markets for reasonable prices. If possible, I would recommend trying before you buy. It might not tick all the right boxes for you but something about the malt character is quite distinguished and unique. Overall a whisky I ended up enjoying. It just took a bit of time to get there.