Blind Tasting Competition Day 5: Highland Park 1992-2015, 22 yo, 59.6% – Cadenhead Wood Range (Sherry Cask)

As expected, yesterday was another zero-pointer. I had everything wrong about this whisky, apart from the fact that it was a cask strength dram. That’s something that, obviously, is not getting you any points at all.

It seems that I can only get some points every second day. But if, like things are going, that means I get an average of 25 points per day (or 50 points every second day) I’m probably fairing better than I did in the last couple of years.

The nose starts quite gentle. There’s quite a bit of peat and it’s not salty. I’m veering away from Islay already. A very highland style dram in this, with a lot of earthy scents. Barley, grass, licorice. It gets a bit heavier so I’m expecting some age here.

The palate is sharp and spicy. Sharper than expected, to be honest. Barley, oak, grass, peat, dirt. Very earthy, and very nice. The sweetness matches the flavors well.

The finish is rich. Still sharp but not as sharp as the palate was. Barley flavors, earthy and quite drying.

I guessed this was a BenRiach, and went for a far too young whisky, even though I wrote in my notes that there was some age to it. I missed my own markers, apparently. I did get a certain earthy note that could be either Highland Park or BenRiach.

We (Yoav and Shai on Twitter, and I) discussed this one and we concluded it could be either Highland Park or BenRiach, and we went for the safe option, the Spey option. We are idiots. What didn’t help is that this is probably the most peaty Highland Park I’ve ever had.

This whisky than. Let’s be very clear about this. It is bloody awesome. I really, really loved it. The peat is very different from Islay, but there’s quite a lot of it. It works really well with the barley focus and the earthy character of the whisky.

Highland Park 1992-2015, 22 yo, 59.6%, Cadenhead Wood Range (Sherry Cask). Available from Cadenhead’s Denmark for € 175


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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