Orkney 18yo, 54.6% – The Whisky Exchange’s Black Friday

Yet another embargoed sample, which is something The Whisky Exchange loves to do. It works. I get all giddy when it comes in, and they get a lot of press on the day the whisky actually comes out.

This entire Black Friday thing is something I find utterly ridiculous on a personal level, but I understand from an economic perspective that it’d be silly to not join the hype.

Aaaanyway, this thing. An 18 year old ‘Orkney’ whisky bottled at cask strength. 1400 bottles available makes this not a single cask, so a vatting of several. My money is, of course, on Highland Park, since the unnamed Orkneys always are Highland Park. Like the mystery Speysides are always Glenfarclas.

A whiff of highland smoke, with some fresh barley behind it. Sweet, heathery honey and hazelnuts. Gentle, crisp and slightly coastal. Some apples, carambole apples with the dryness of the peels. Some sweet licorice too.

Slightly astringent with dry apple and a hint of rusty iron. Some dry smoke, heather and a bit of thyme. Oak, stewed apple, sweet pear. A hint of cinnamon, soot and old wood. A syrupy texture, with the straight forward sweetness of simple syrup. Sweet citrus with orange and candied lemon peels.

The finish kicks off with sooty smoke and old dry oak beams. The fruity sweetness comes back later, although it’s more like grenadine than actual fruit. Rather long with the sweet coal-like soot remaining longest.

Based on the nose alone, this would easily have gotten 90 points from me. However, I do find the syrupiness on the palate and the sweet sugary coating that you’re left with on the finish a bit too strong to have it stay there.

I absolutely love the flavors of the heathery smoke, greasy coal soot and dry oak. That’s exactly what I always hope to get from an indie Highland Park, and it’s exactly what this one delivers.

At 70 pounds, this is an epic deal.


Orkney 18 years old, 54.6%, The Whisky Exchange. Available for (a very limited time) 70 quid. Only 70 quid.

Sample cordially provided by The Whisky Exchange! Thanks a lot!


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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