Highland Park Sigurd. I initially wanted this bottle because it’s called Sigurd. Sigurd is the Norse base name for Sjoerd, which is rather epic. It means something like ‘Keeper of Victory’.
Rob, the owner of Whiskykoning in Den Bosch, saw my post of this on Facebook and promptly changed this in his line-ups to ‘Highland Park Sjoerd’, and was kind enough to save me dram (Much obliged, Rob, thanks a million).
In the end I didn’t buy it since it is quite a pricey dram and for one that I hadn’t tasted before and it being just at 43% I thought it too big a risk to guess. Now, since I’m able to really try it, I get to see if I’m right.
The reviews I found on the interwebz weren’t overly promising. Some people liked it, some people didn’t. Although, depending on which review you get, even from the same dude, 89 points is translated to ‘good but not great’ or other times ‘great but just short of epic’. I guess it’s a mood thing. That, combined with a deciding factor called price, is the reason I don’t rate my reviews.
The whisky then. It’s from Highland Park’s Warriors series. This is the 243rd series of Norse themed whiskies from Highland Park in the last decade or so, and one that has not been overly popular with the whisky geeks. The range starts (from a budget point of view) in a couple of American oak matured drams, and then another couple of Spanish oak ones. This is the first from the European oak part of the line.
Quite mature, without losing touch with its spirit. Lots of oaky spices, like nutmeg and red cinnamon. Warming with a hint of smoke in the background. Wow. It’s very gentle with some raisins, moss, and wet earth. Very autumnal with even some cigars.
Gentle, with a slightly peppery bite. A nice continuance of the nose on the palate. Rather syrupy with a woody, sappy note. Rather specific on the oak. Again the coarseness of the cigar smoke, with wood dust, moss, and spices.
The finish is, as expected, very gentle and mellow. Pretty long lasting with the sappy notes again. The smoke is very rich, but gentle. The wood is present too and pretty strong at that.
This Highland Park surprises me in several ways. One is that it’s not fruity at all. Two is that it’s ridiculously autumnal. Three is that this is not more popular.
I’m slightly confused by the European oak thingy. I guess it’s from a refill cask since the wood influence is vastly different than I’m used to from the more prevalent American oak in whisky. On the other hand, I barely get any sherry influence apart from maybe some bitter raisin twigs in a woody kind of way. I did find some raisins on the palate, but not what I’d expect from sherry matured Highland Park.
I only had a single glass left in the bottle I got, but bloody hell it’s good. It’s really gentle and timid because of the 43%, but the flavors are really good and exactly to my liking. I didn’t miss the fruit at all, but the gentle spices with the sappy and mossy notes make for a proper autumnal dram.
It’s like a forest in a glass, with some bonfire in the distance. I removed it from my wishlist since I only wanted it because of the name, but now I want it for more reasons. This goes right back on the wish list!
Highland Park Sigurd, 43%, available at a lot of shops but De Whiskykoning sells it for € 152. Prices vary heavily.
Thanks a million for the sample, Rob!