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

December 9, 2013


More quarrelsome Highland Park

Maybe you remember that I had found the three first - and cheaper - bottlings from the 'NAS warriors' series quite underwhelming. My impressions have since been confirmed, blind, by my compadres the malt maniacs, but there are also more recent warriors that are said to be in another league. Let's see!

Highland Park 'Sigurd' (43%, OB, travel retail, 70cl, 2013)

Highland Park 'Sigurd' (43%, OB, travel retail, 70cl, 2013) Four stars Colour: gold. Nose: relatively smooth and easy, with ripe melons and peaches, as well as whiffs of eucalyptus and camphor. That's nice. Also a little crème brûlée and touches of liquorice. I think there's much more happening than in the previous warriors. More and more overripe apples after ten minutes, as well as old walnuts. Mouth: a little thin but not as frustrating as the '40%'. Tarte tatin and orange cake, earl grey, mead and apple juice. A touch of salt, a little Ovaltine, some liquorice... And some honeydew. Finish: rather short and a little drying. Tea. Nice oranges, soft spices and honey in the aftertaste, though. Comments: certainly a very, very fine Highland Park but a little more oomph would have been welcome. Whether it's worth €150 remains to be discussed (how PC is that?) SGP:441 - 85 points.

Highland Park 'Ragnvald' (44.6%, OB, travel retail, 70cl, 2013)

Highland Park 'Ragnvald' (44.6%, OB, travel retail, 70cl, 2013) Five stars Colour: gold. Nose: a completely different planet. This one hints more at the old glories, with all these precious honeys, the mild smoke, the touches of metal polish, the hints of fruitcake and the lovely combination of cigar smoke and cedar wood. Wonderful phenols and waxes. We're really talking now. Mouth: indeed. High quality HP, phenolic, medicinal, with many precious woods and spices mingled with ripe fruits and herbal teas as well as a little menthol. Prefect body this time. I especially like the notes of mango cake and honeydew, as well as the touches of bitter oranges that never stop growing. Finish: quite long this time and rather spicy. Cardamom and pepper, oranges again, maybe one or two slices of tinned pineapples... A little salt playing with your lips after you've swallowed it all. Comments: this one really delivered. The finish is rather spicier than other oldies - because there's probably quite some old HP in the mix - but the fruits remain fresh and vivid. The joys of multi-decade vatting, I suppose. SGP:652 - 90 points.

No Thorfinn around, so let's have a new independent version instead...

Highland Park 28 yo 1985/2013 (48.3%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 252 bottles)

Highland Park 28 yo 1985/2013 (48.3%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 252 bottles) Five stars This one was bottled in October this year. Colour: straw. Nose: it's a fruit salad, more or less, with just a little sunflower oil and some barley water. And this works quite brilliantly! No I won't list all fruits, but I could tell you that there's also a little paraffin coming out after five minutes, together with some green tealeaves. Becomes drier, leafier, grassier and waxier over time. The fruits are gone after ten minutes, but I love waxes and oils in whisky, so... Mouth: perfect... for me. If you don't like waxy, grassy, sharpish palates, you may continue your way ;-) but if you do and give this baby a little time, you'll be rewarded with limes and grapefruits as well as touches of salt and 'extreme' green tea, Japanese style. What a distillate! Finish: long and extremely well chiselled. Agreed, that also means 'narrow', but high definition can also be an asset. Comments: does little but does it extremely well. For aficionados, I'd say. SGP:362 - 90 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Highland Park I've tasted so far

Pete McPeat and Jack Washback







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