I was discussing a trip to Scotland I’m planning for winter with a friend, with said friend. We were debating whether or not to fly to Glasgow and do the Arran/Campbeltown/Fort William trip or to fly to Inverness and venture up to Orkney.
Then, and listen to this, the idiot told me he didn’t like Highland Park. Let that sink in. I mean, I can understand that statement regarding the official bottlings that are actually affordable to people with a life to live. However, when taking independent bottlers in account, I don’t think there’s a distillery that’s better than Highland Park (except, maybe, Springbank and Bowmore, and Clynelish).
Anyway, you get it. EVERYBODY loves indie Highland Park. So, when this bottle popped up in my feed, I bought it, bottle-shared it and saved him a sip, which he will have to undergo next week, at Maltstock. Not liking Highland Park…
So, 18 year old, 16 on the label. Typo, according to my sources. It is actually 1999 to 2018, so all is good. From a refill butt nonetheless, although, based on the color I wouldn’t have guessed.
Malty with a whiff of highland peat smoke. Grilled fruit with apple and star fruit. Light, but with oak and straw. Some gentle scents of peach, other dried fruits too.
A bit sharper than the scent, with more fruit. Tropical and more ‘northern’ as well. Apples, grapes, peaches. Lots of straw and a bit of smoke.
The typical Highland Park dryness is prevalent on the finish. Long, dry, fruity and straw like. Coastal too with a hint of salt.
It’s a very gentle sherry cask. I only get some minor hints of peach in the whisky, and there’s a bit more dryness than I am used to from bourbon casks. Apart from that, it is exactly what you’d expect from a bourbon cask Highland Park, but with an extra layer of things to discover.
In short, a whisky that is absolutely gorgeous. It does everything right, with it being deep and complex, with big flavors and some longevity to it because of the high alcohol percentage. Not too high, mind.
Highland Park 18, 1999-2018, Refill butt #28, 53.6%, Berry Bros. & Rudd. Still available internationally for around 100 euros.