I have no certainty how I got my hands on this sample, but I think it was from a bottle share from some guys in England, together with a heap of Springbank Open Day stuff. Anyway, when I saw a sort-of-affordable 29 year old Highland Park available, I wanted to have some. It’s not often these come by nowadays, especially not at a decent price.
Anyway, a late eighties Highland Park. At cask strength. Bottled straight from the cask by someone I know (albeit only digitally). Can’t go wrong, right?
What stands out on the nose is the bags of malt, at least initially. Some soft oak notes follow with a very light smokiness, a bit like a smoldering campfire. After that I get stewed apple with some baking spices. Cinnamon, mostly, I guess. And some pastry notes to finish up.
The palate is reasonably sharp and slightly drying. Maybe more intense than sharp. A light smokiness again, with some earthy tones after that. Apple, dried apple, autumn leaves. Also some cake dough. Slightly sweet with a small hint of vanilla and some hay.
The finish is rich with some baking spices. Warming with earthy hints. Some apple pie, vanilla and oak.
It’s rich, complex, and utterly delicious. That’s the short of it. The only ‘comment’ I can think about this whisky is that the finish is slightly less impressive than what came before. But, keep in mind, that this is still very, very good.
Honestly, this is the exact kind of whisky that is a real treat to find. It’s a shame casks like this are so few and far between. And, if they pop up they generally are quite expensive.
I consider myself lucky to have been able to try this one.
Highland Park 29yo, 31-3-1988 – 2017, Refill Bourbon Hogshead 06/265-1, 51.5% – Cadenhead’s Cask Ends.