When this bottling came out in 2008, it happened to be around early autumn when the Whisky by the Sea festival was held in Vlissingen. I was there with my friend TT and we ended up talking to Michiel Wigman of Dutch Connection for a long time. Michiel is one of the more prominent Dutch whisky collectors.
He told us to keep our eyes out for this bottle, specifically cask 5820, since it was going to go fast, and it’s awesome. We tried it, and when we got back home we ordered it. As many as we could.
At one point we had ordered a case (on top of the bottles we already had) but were sent the wrong cask number. I opened one bottle to see if it wasn’t as good (it wasn’t) and sent the rest back. In the following months we found some more bottles here and there.
Somehow, now I see it’s available at a nearby bottle shop but the price has quadrupled. It’s a bummer that I didn’t see it in that shop earlier, since I would have bought it without thinking. Now, at € 200, I won’t.
This entire anecdote tells you what I think of this whisky, so not many surprises will follow.
The sherry is smooth, but big. The whisky is quite sharp so it’s not just sherry I’m getting. There’s chocolate and fruit and spiced cake. Sweet, soft oak notes with lots of bakery scents (the kind of bakery that focuses on pastries as much as bread). Slightly meaty with a trace of smoke as well. Coffee and cinnamon. Damn.
The palate is not as sharp as it ever was (this was tried from the end of my bottle), but it still packs enough punch. Lots and lots of flavor. Sherry, oak, chocolate and dried fruits. Treacly, coffee, pecans.
The finish is slightly sharper and long. Again that pecans and chocolate thing, with sherry, cinnamon and some oak. A trace of smoke again.
This whisky is as awesome as it was when I got my bottles in 2008. I’m absolutely loving it still. The sherry is big and beautiful, with lots of different flavors going on, quite layered. Luckily the whisky isn’t overpowered by all that Spanish violence.
It’s a shame that bottle is now € 200, but otherwise it wouldn’t have been available anymore since I would have bought them all. This is an instant classic in my book.
It’s a shame that the other casks were not as good as this one. I know that at least 5823 and 5832 have also been released, and those were very different. Still good, but not AS good. These casks were distilled on the same day and also matured in First Fill Sherry casks
Highland Park 10 years old, 17/11/1997 – 04/2008, First Fill Sherry Butt # 5820, 57.6%, Gordon & MacPhail Reserve. Now available for € 200 at Zeewijck.