I realized I didn’t have this on my blog yet, just like yesterday’s Rosebank and the bottle is almost gone. The major difference is that I have a spare one for this baby. It’s not just any Highland Park 18, but the previous previous version. The one that was exceptionally good. The big dumpy bottles. You know what I’m talking about!
Well, the words smooth and complex are loathed by some people I know, but here it applies. Fruit with a slight earthiness, a touch of smoke. Sweet sherry and quite a bit of wood, but not overpoweringly so. It does build up nicely to a more thick aroma with more straw, bakery spices, dried fruits and it keeps getting warmer and fuller.
The palate is, at first, a little bit dry, but that goes away quickly. Full with dried peaches and apricots. Wood, coffee, tobacco, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon.
The finish is beautiful, and with the first sip not too long, but as the whisky opens, the finish lengthens. It’s a bit less sweet and I get a touch of charcoal, the wood is more pronounced into European oak without it getting meaty.
This is an absolute cracker of a standard bottling. If it was still available it would trump the Lagavulin 16 as my favorite regular OB. There is just so much going on, it’s impossible to pinpoint everything, and if I would be better at this, I could have written down a lot more. All edges of the flavour spectrum are covered, except for maybe the salty, typically Islay, flavours.
Is it worth spending that extra money on, on top of what the regular one costs? It depends on whether you can find it and at what price. I’d spend a € 100 on this without question. € 170 is something I rarely spend on any bottle, but I can see this one fetching that.
Highland Park 18, OB, 43%, +/- 2004 and it used to cost around € 50, but I’ve seen it at € 170.