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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

October 16, 2013


Aren't the warriors a little tired?

More Nordic gods or warriors or whatever from Highland Park. I absolutely love HP and the people in the company, but this is becoming a little boring, if I may. What's more, these are no-age-statement bottlings and all at 40%. So, are these warriors toothless? Let's see...

Highland Park 'Svein' (40%, OB, travel retail, 1l, 2013)

Highland Park 'Svein' (40%, OB, travel retail, 1l, 2013) Two stars and a halfColour: light gold. Nose: light, malty and honeyed. Maybe a few vegetables and touches of earth, a little vanilla too, whiffs of wood smoke, oranges, some mint... Not unpleasant, even quite elegant, just rather light. As always with these light whiskies, the nose can be very nice but the palate might be weak and flat. Let's see... Mouth: not a lot happening. Some slightly bitter notes, ginger, tonic water, something slightly burnt, orange marmalade, burnt cake, malted coffee... The middle is a little too weak, which makes the whole experience even flatter. Finish: very short, malty. Touches of smoke in the aftertaste. Comments: I've never met that Svein guy personally, but he mustn't have been a big guy. The whisky's quite good but I feel it's been murdered when reduced (while other HPs can remain big and fulfilling, even at 40% vol.) SGP:342 - 77 points.

Highland Park 'Einar' (40%, OB, travel retail, 1l, 2013)

Highland Park 'Einar' (40%, OB, travel retail, 1l, 2013) Two stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: not big either but there's more happening, this one has more HighlandParkness, with touches of camphor and menthol on top of the heather honey, orange cake, maple syrup and cigarette tobacco. Delicate and rather complex. I especially like the notes of ripe mirabelles that appear after ten minutes. Maybe also a little smoked tea? Mouth: I like this a little better, it's more honeyed and has more body. Jams and dried fruits plus honey and gingerbread. Less smoke than in Svein. Finish: very short and, once again, maltier. Comments: so yeah, it's very light but I liked it a little better than Svein, it's a notch more satisfying. SGP:431 - 79 points.

Highland Park 'Harald' (40%, OB, travel retail, 70cl, 2013)

Highland Park 'Harald' (40%, OB, travel retail, 70cl, 2013) Three stars Colour: gold. Nose: the oak's a little more apparent at first nosing, as well as the raisins. Vanilla, sponge cake, honey, oranges, cinnamon, then a little earth again, maybe a little eucalyptus? Old wine cellar. Same global feeling, it's an elegant malt but it's light. Mouth: much more happening despite the same strength. Granted, some rather active oak seems to be doing the job but I like this vanilla, the raisins, the honeydew and the light smoke. More like it, but it's no big dram either and the middle's even a little watery, in a way. Finish: short. Honey sauce, wee touches of salted liquorice and a maltier aftertaste. Comments: light, easy and loyal. Having said that, I couldn't help noticing that many brands are trying to sell weak 'travel retail only' expressions these days. Buying at airports is becoming more a handicap than a privilege. SGP:441 - 81 points.

Bonus, another one bearing a weapon (tasted apart)

Highland Park 1997/2010 'Sword' (43%, OB, for Taiwan)

Highland Park 1997/2010 'Sword' (43%, OB, for Taiwan) Four stars and a half This baby used to be sold for around 60 Euros but we're now seeing it at merchants' for more than 200. Colour: amber. Nose: very round, aromatic, on soft sherry, with plenty of toasted brioche, the trademark heather honey, toffee, milk chocolate and then a little more marmalade. It's very typical, very HP. After ten minutes, wee touches of peat smoke and liquorice. Very pleasant soft nose. Mouth: in keeping with the nose, starting with honey and toasted bread as well as vanilla fudge and toffee. Good body, the 43% vol. make it easy but rather firm. Also dried figs, raisins, touches of liquorice again as well as this discreet peatiness. The spices remain soft and kind of rounded. Finish: a good length at this strength, with more toffee and heather honey. Chocolate and raisins. Perfect sherry integration. Comments: excellent, very typical. Reminds me of much older bottlings of HP. SGP:552 - 88 points. (many thanks, Ho-cheng)


Pete McPeat and Jack Washback







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