Hazelburn is the name given to an unpeated series of whiskies produced in the Springbank Distillery, located in the coastal town of Campbeltown. Hazelburn is one of only a handful of Scottish single malts distilled three times, making it light, sweet and malty.
Hazelburn is one of the three styles of whisky produced at the Springbank Distillery in Campbeltown. It is named after the old Hazelburn distillery, which, like a great many Scottish distilleries, disappeared from the whisky map as a consequence of America’s great experiment of prohibition.
Hazelburn represents the lightest style of whisky that Springbank is the in the distillery. While Springbank is lightly peated and Longrow heavily peated, Hazelburn is produced entirely using unpeated malt. The three whiskies also differ clearly in the distillation process. Unlike the two siblings, Hazelburn is triple distilled, making it an absolute minority by Scottish standards. Only Auchentoshan in the Lowlands is otherwise triple distilled, as has long been a tradition in the Lowlands and Ireland.
How does Hazelburn taste?Hazelburn is universally a light whisky, on the barrel combination, the pure ex-bourbon barrel contains hazelburns of vanilla, honey and toffee notes paired with light fruits. Depending on the combination with sherry barrels, these may turn out darker.
How is Hazelburn produced?Springbank is one of the last remaining family-owned independent distilleries in Scotland. The Mitchell family continues to produce according to traditional methods and does every production step by hand without the help of a computer! As the last distillery in Scotland, 100% of the malt used comes from its own floor maltings.
Hazelburn is triple distilled on the three stills, one wash and two spirit stills.
Hazelburn accounts for only around 10% of production. With Springbank’s already small capacity of around 400,000 (2018) liters a year, you can calculate how little Hazelburn is produced each year.
The name Hazelburn Whisky goes back to a distillery that, before it was officially licensed by the brothers Greenlees and Archie Colville in 1825, was probably producing whisky since the end of the 18th century. Located in Campbeltown in the county of Argyll and Bute, it was the oldest and for a long time also the largest distillery in the city, at that time located at the southern end of the Longrow in Campbeltown. Despite it’s age for the bulk of this time distillation was illicit, and Hazelburn was licensed after Campbeltown, Caledonian, Dalaruan, Kinloch, Lochhead, Longrow and Meadow Burn distilleries.
When Alfred Barnard visited the distillery as part of his whisky trip in 1885, it had an annual production capacity of 250,000 gallons, making it the largest distillery in the city. In 1885, 192,000 gallons of malt whisky were produced utilising a 7,000-gallon wash still, which was the largest Campbeltowns at the time, and two 1,800-gallon spirit stills.
After several changes of ownership - like so many others - the Hazelburn distillery was closed in the wake of the sales crisis in the 1920s. In 1920 the distillery was sold to Mackie Co., which became White Horse Distillers Ltd. A few years later. White Horse was merged into Distillers Company Limited (DCL). However, Hazelburn shared the fate of most of Campbeltown’s distilleries in the region, had to close in 1925.
Springbank has been selling a single malt called Hazelburn since 2005. Hazelburn is usually available in an age statement variant from 8 to 12 years, as with the siblings, limited special bottlings are occasionally brought onto the market. Due to the small production, there are always bottlenecks.
In 2005, at Springbank, the last remaining distillery in Campbeltown, the name Hazelburn, was revived. In addition to the typical Springbank and peaty Longrow, a round, mild whisky was produced and bottled under the name Hazelburn.
This whisky is triple distilled from unpeat malt. Originally released as an eight year single malt, the Hazelburn is now also available as a ten and twelve year original bottling, as well as bottlings from special barrel maturations, such as the nine-year-old Hazelburn 9 Year Old Barolo”.
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1796: Said to have been licensed (also 1825). The original partners were Matthew and Daniel Greenlees and Archie Colvill
1836: Said to have been rebuilt
1837-81: Greenlees & Colville when dissolved and reconstructed as a limited company, Nettleton (1893) says Colville, Greenlees & Co. Ltd.
1845: New buildings were built at Milknowe Road due to increased business. The owners were Greenlees & Colvill. The same year Colvill left and his place was taken by Samuel Greenlees, although the name remained Greenlees & Colvill until 1920
c.1920: Acquired by Mackie & Co. (Distillers) Ltd. from Samuel Greenlees, who had set up a blending plant in London
1921: Distillery closed by Mackie & Co. (Distillers) Ltd.
1924: Mackie & Co. (Distillers) Ltd. became White Horse Distillers Ltd.
1925: Distillery silent. Distillery worked sporadically before being silent. Warehouses were used to store whisky from other distilleries for decades afterwards
1927: White Horse Distillers Ltd. merged with the Distillers Company Ltd. (DCL)
late 1970s: Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd. (SMD) used the site to house its main lab
1983: The lab of Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd. (SMD) and the warehouses were closed down along with the other cutbacks in that year
2005: Used as a business centre
Can I tour Hazelburn?
No, unfortunately Hazelburn distillery is not open to the public for tours