Whisky Advocate

Review: Hazelburn 12 year old

September 15th, 2011

Hazelburn 12 year old, 46%, $80

Following on from the earlier 8 year old expression of this triple distilled Campbeltown malt, the 12 year old first appeared in August 2009 and nicely illustrates the developments brought about by its continuing maturation. Rich on the nose, with a clear sherry influence, along with toffee, marzipan, apricots, and milk chocolate. This is a substantial and well integrated dram, with malt, almonds, cocoa, and spice on the palate, while the long, spicy finish offers more chocolate, soft fruits, and coffee. —Gavin Smith

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 87

12 Responses to “Review: Hazelburn 12 year old”

  1. Red_Arremer says:

    Wonder if there are any traces of the Campeltown saltiness I detected on the 8 yo…

  2. lawschooldrunk says:

    I’m sorry but I have to do it: Hazelburn, hazelburn, why do you cost your amount? I guess it’s because you can. How I would love thee if you were less expensive.

    (Although Ralfy would start spouting his “intrinsic quality” shpiel…)

  3. anorak77 says:

    lawschooldrunk:

    The reason Springers/Longrows/Hazelburns/Kilkerran’s are so Pricey is because they are imported by Preiss imports. They don’t cost this much across the pond!

  4. mongo says:

    the hazelburn 12 (2010) is £48 incl. of vat at the whisky exchange. and that’s for a 700 ml bottle. the american price turns out to be better.

  5. anorak77 says:

    That being said, the cheapest I have found this whisky in RI & MA has been $89.99 + tax. Not worth it for a 12 year old, it’s a fairly average whisky. I tried it at a Preiss roadshow tasting, for roughly the same price you’d be better off with a 15 year old Springer.

  6. Louis says:

    It seems to me that the Laffer curve is at work here. They can sell fewer bottles at higher prices or more bottles for less money, and make the same profit. Unlike Balvenie, Glenrothes, Macallan, etc., there is no serious advertising money behind Springbank, so that’s not where a good chunk of the retail price is going. However, I would tend to agree with the ratings that Springbank tends to gather nowadays, so selling fewer bottles would seem to do more to perpetuate the distillery’s reputation and mystique, if you catch my drift.

    For those not aware, the Laffer curve was part of Reaganomics back in the 1980’s. it is a sideways parabola along the X axis of a graph, that shows that you can achieve the same amount of revenue at a higher and lower level of taxation. But please folks, this is for demonstration purposes only. I would ask you to limit your comments to the whisky, as WDJK is one of the vey few safe havens from politics and hence, a nice place to hang out. Thanks in advance,

    Slainte.

    Louis

    • Henry says:

      Surely you jest. There are absolutely no “safe havens from politics” under the sun. Whether or not a text is expressly political–as of course your very own relevant, informed comment most certainly is–there are politics oozing out of it on all sides.

      Calling out Preiss Imports on their offensive U.S. pricing has been done here before, and it will be done again. Let us hope that Anchor has reined in the barely literate (not to mention impolitic) fellow who used to stop by here from time to time to defend the indefensible.

      And more open discussion of politics, please.

  7. Lawrence says:

    To quote Peter Currie when ask about the US pricing else where;

    I don’t think this is really a fair to target Preiss Imports. The pricing is a reflection of the fact that Springbank are one of the few companies not to discount their product specifically for the American market. Every market buys from us at the same price.

    The US have a ridiculous “three-tier-system,” where an importer has to sell to a wholesaler who then has to sell to to retailer. In the UK Springbank are the wholesaler, therefore there is one and sometimes two less margins to be added.

    From a quick calculation the reasons for the difference in price can easily be seen.

    Springbank Whisky – £30 ($46.50)
    + Shipping – £2 ($3)
    + Duty – £8 ($12.40)
    =£40 ($61.90)
    + 1 margin @30% = £53 ($82) + UK VAT (20%) = £64 UK Retail Price
    + US wholesaler margin @ 30% = £69 ($107)
    + US retailer margin @ 30% = £90 ($140) + US VAT (12%) = $160 US retail price

    As can be seen it is the retailer who makes the most, then the wholesaler and the lowest margin is for the importer.

    I hope that this shows the reason for the pricing, even if it doesn’t make it any easier to find the money

    cheers

    Peter

    • Louis says:

      I’m not sure that I buy (no pun intended) these numbers. There are plenty of NAS blends that go for under $20/bottle, and they cost exactly the same to bring over as the more interesting stuff that Malt Advocate readers are interested in. And that also doesn’t explain why the older Springbank and Glendronach bottlings are marked up a lot more than the younger ones compared to the European prices.

    • mongo says:

      well, louis, i hold no brief for preiss imports (or springbank, much as i love their whisky) but as you’ll see in lawrence’s quote of peter currie, he refers to the fact that most distilleries discount for the american market so as to not have prices rendered out of reach by the three-tier pricing system. springbank as a small indie distillery does not do this, and for this reason (though likely not only for this reason) its whisky costs more compared to most others in the u.s. (i can’t speak for glendronach). it’s also likely that distributors and retailers charge higher mark-ups on the older expressions than they do on the 10yo springbank, leading to the asymmetry in prices you mention.

      in the same other place lawrence has drawn his quote from (the whiskywhiskywhisky forum) it has also been pointed out that springbank produces far less of its hazelburn and longrow expressions than it does of springbank–which doubtless also accounts for some of the higher margins on those two expressions.

  8. JohnM says:

    I think this is a lovely whisky – one of the nicer ones I’ve had recently and a lot better than the 8, in my opinion.

  9. David says:

    There hasn’t been a Hazelburn I’ve met that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. When visiting Scotland, I brought back a bottle of the Hazelbrun CV for about 23 pounds, great value in my book. Just orded some Hazelburn in the Saunterness cask. The 12 and 8 are great in my book.

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