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

November 19, 2013


Tasting a few middle-aged
indie Highland Park

We'll sort them by ascending strength this time. I especially wanted to try the first one asap. These casks are seldom bottled as 'single casks', for several reasons...

Highland Park 24 yo 1988/2012 (40.9%, Whisky-Doris, hogshead, cask #882, 29 bottles)

Highland Park 24 yo 1988/2012 (40.9%, Whisky-Doris, hogshead, cask #882, 29 bottles) Four stars The equivalent of 29 bottles at very low strength, that's all what used to remain in this sweet little leaking cask! This one should be interesting, kudos to Whisky-Doris for having decided to bottle this. Colour: straw. I had thought this one would be darker. Nose: I think it's extracted more oak, but instead of vanilla or ginger, it's rather essential oils, around eucalyptus or pinesap. There's also the trademark heather honey, a minerality, clearly some wax or rather paraffin and then more ripe - but not overripe - apples. Apart from the sappy side, it's a very fresh and clean nose, absolutely not flat or tired. Mouth: the oak feels a little now, there's quite some strong tea (both green and black) and a bag of apple peelings as well as walnut skins, but there's also a lemony side to it that works well. Green apples. No weakness because of the low strength. Finish: quit long, on many apples. Comments: brilliant nose and very honest, grassy palate. Really worth bottling, kudos again! SGP:571 - 85 points.

Highland Park 21 yo 1992/2013 (45%, Samaroli, cask #1245)

Highland Park 21 yo 1992/2013 (45%, Samaroli, cask #1245) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: it is very waxy this time, very mineral, ultra-clean and kind of Clynelishy (I'm sorry). And come the citrons, lemons and grapefruits! We're now around Pouilly-Fumé or Sancerre, with this very flinty and ultra-zesty style that I enjoy so much. Great distillate and very little wood - but mature it is! Mouth: dry apple spirit! This is quite spectacular and, I must say, very good but you have to like your whisky sharp and dry. There's also quite some iodine, then this fine citrusy side. Grapefruits. Finish: of short medium length, citrusy, chiselled, very clean and fresh. Comments: on par with the Whisky-Doris. It's a narrow and relatively shy HP but I do enjoy this 'purity'. Oh, and it needs air or it can remain a bit closed. SGP:451 - 86 points.

Highland Park 17 yo 1995/2013 (53.9%, The First Edition, refill hogshead, 286 bottles)

Highland Park 17 yo 1995/2013 (53.9%, The First Edition, refill hogshead, 286 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: white wine. Nose: same style as the Samaroli, only even more mineral and maybe less fruity. Grassier and slightly smokier too. So, more austere but that could be a matter of water/reduction. No, wait, quite some vanilla's coming out after fifteen minutes. With water: some smoke coming out, as well as more barley/porridge. Barley porridge, can you make that? Mouth (neat): lemons and limes in a vanilla crust, plus sunflower oil and grass. This is funny, it reminds me of some Rosebanks. Sweetly waxy mineral grassy sharpish zesty lemony naked Highland Park. Perfect mouth feel, not much to add. With water: becomes sweeter, with a feeling of lemon drops and jellies. Fructose. Finish: medium length, very clean, lemony, concise. Maybe some peat in the aftertaste. Comments: completely spirit-driven, which works greatly when the spirit is great (what?) SGP:551 - 88 points.

Highland Park 1998/2012 (57.4%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 12058, 189 bottles)

Highland Park 1998/2012 (57.4%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 12058, 189 bottles) Five stars So a sherried version this time, we might get closer to the officials, let's see... Colour: red mahogany. Nose: an archetypical and archetypal balanced semi-fruity sherry monster. There's not much to say, this works perfectly, there are dried figs, dates, raisins aplenty, orange marmalade, honey (heather? I couldn't tell you, it's too 'integrated') and milk chocolate plus, behind all that, this waxy minerality that's so typically HP. With water: swims like Mark Spitz. More tobacco, maybe. Full humidor and hay, some smoke and ashes. Mouth (neat): no excessive leather or similar notes, rather more oranges and pink grapefruits, what more could you ask for? And it's not even heavy. With water: perfect. Oranges in all their forms, wee touches of menthol and a little orange blossom water. Finish: long, curiously zesty considering the amount of sherry. More cloves and gingerbread in the aftertaste. Comments: a sherry monster but not a heavy one. So, archetypical or archetypal or both? SGP:652 - 91 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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