Due to quite a lot of sample buying and sharing from and with whisky buddies in England, I’ve gotten my hand on some SMWS samples. Apparently the SMWS there is loads more fun than it is in The Netherlands. Bummer for us, but luckily we are not without options.
This Highland Park bottling was bought in a small share of this and a bottle of Laphroaig. I participated in it, even though the bottlings were not that appealing. As in, they were random, young and there was not anything truly ‘special’ about them. I have known some Highland Parks and Laphroaigs from the SMWS that did turn out to be rather stellar drams.
Of course, results from the past are no guarantee, but these weren’t too expensive so let’s just give it a go, right?
It smells a lot younger than it actually is. And it smells like there’s a lot more alcohol than there actually is. There’s a lot of apple juice like scents, but also a trace of smoke, some pear and American oak. The vanilla is there too, but in the background.
The palate is very sharp too with loads of alcohol again. Quite some bite! It’s hot even. There’s oak, charcoal and smoke, with hints of sponge cake, buttermilk and some orange. Not very dry, which I expected with this intensity.
The finish is rather typical of Highland Park from bourbon casks. Again, very sharp but mellows down quite quickly. A trace of smoke again with apples, unripe pear, vanilla and some lemon.
Right. I am not sure what to think of this one. It’s not, in itself, a bad whisky, but it’s not very appealing either. I think I find the whisky rather off balance. The idea is great with not too old bourbon matured Highland Park having the possibility to be really great, but this is not it.
The apple juice scents on the nose and the massive alcohol that’s all over this dram is just not it for me. I’m actually glad I only got a sample of this. On the other hand, I did finish the sample right away. A bit of water does mellow it a bit, but also starts drowning it right off the bat.
Compared to some other youngish Highland Parks from bourbon casks, this is just not a very good one.
Highland Park 1999, 11yo, 56.6%, Sherbet Fountains and Rainbow Drops, SMWS (4.158). Used to cost some £ 50 to 60 I think.