Whisky Advent Calendar: Day 13

13 12 2014

I have a Christmas party to attend tonight, so for the first time this Advent it’s afternoon whisky time!  Today’s whisky closes the loop on the scotch-producing regions of Scotland:  we’ve already had whiskies from 4 of the 5 regions (Speyside, Highland, Lowland, Islay), and this one hails from the lone remaining region, Campbeltown, a peninsula found on Scotland’s southwest coast.  This used to be a high-production area for scotch, but it has gradually fallen from prominence, to the point now where only three distilleries remain:  Springbank, Glengyle and Glen Scotia.  Springbank is by far the best known of the three and produces whiskies under three different labels, one of which is today’s feature scotch.  The Hazelburn Campbeltown 12 Year Single Malt is unpeated and triple-distilled, a production method common in Irish whiskies but rarely seen in scotch.  It spends its aging time in sherry casks (unclear whether they’re Oloroso or not, so I can’t get righteously indignant) and retails for $98.

I need some feedback on this one - have you had it?  What do you think?

I need some feedback on this one – have you had it? What do you think?

I can’t decide whether I like this whisky or not.  On the one hand, it has a beautiful straw-golden colour and a sense of individuality that sets it apart from the other drams in the calendar.  On the other hand, it doesn’t seem to handle its 46% alcohol as well as most of the other whiskies, coming across slightly fiery and harsh at the edges and remaining steadfastly gut-warming on the finish.  The nose, though restrained, has a bit of everything, from spice, celery and copper to apple juice, sulphur and dried grass.  Each sip is initially predominated by alcohol, roasted oak and mesquite, but somewhere in the midpalate more interesting notes of anise, dried citrus, coffee and honey emerge.  I hate to leave a post ambivalent about anything, but I really don’t know how I feel about this scotch, other than happy to add some Campbeltown to my repertoire.  Until tomorrow!

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