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

July 11, 2017


Four Highland Park

There are some new Highland Parks around, and we’ll try one of them, but first, an apéritif…

Highland Park 15 yo (40%, OB, 2016)

Highland Park 15 yo (40%, OB, 2016) Three stars The 15 had been discontinued a while ago, but it made a come back last year. The strength may be a bit low though, let’s see… Colour: pale gold. Nose: I find it rather dry and certainly smoky, even ashy, with some grass, a wee touch of new rubber band, then a little custard as well as a handful of roasted raisins. A little hay as well, sourdough… But all that isn’t very big, I find it a notch fragile despite the smokiness, but let’s see what happens on the palate… Mouth: starts rather grassy and even a tad bitter, while the smoke’s well there, before the expected honeyed development is starting to take place. Some toasted bread, a little pepper, some raw malt, some bitter oranges… The spirit ‘sounds’ quite big, but the low strength makes it partly fragile. Finish: a tad short, rather on roasted raisins and a smoky grassiness. More Seville oranges in the aftertaste, as well as a little aniseed. Comments: globally dry and slightly rustic. Good, of course, but as we always say, more oomph would have been welcome. SGP:362 - 82 points.

Highland Park ‘Valkyrie’ (45.9%, OB, 2017)

Highland Park ‘Valkyrie’ (45.9%, OB, 2017) Three stars and a half A new NAS version of Highland Park that comes with boosted packaging and yet more Nordic stories and legends. Let’s see if this baby’s as Wagnerian as its name suggests. Colour: pale gold. Nose: starts with curry-like spices and especially nutmeg and cinnamon, while a smoky coastalness appears from the back. That is very nice, I think. There’s a mentholy side as well, as well as quite some bitter oranges and a feeling of brine. All nice, and the spices do not dominate, which is cool. Mouth: it’s big, salty, spicy, and indeed smoky. I find the wood a touch loud (sour spices, ginger) but other than that, the notes of toffee, marmalade, and raisins are making it rather rounder and, well, sexier. Good body, the strength is perfect. Finish: long, with bitter herbs and a touch of honeydew. Green liquorice, ginger. The aftertaste has got quite some oak spices. Comments: it’s a big, slightly body-builder Highland Park. Very good, of course. SGP:463 - 84 points.

Highland Park 18 yo (43%, OB, +/-2016)

Highland Park 18 yo (43%, OB, +/-2016) Four stars An old favourite, haven’t try the 18 since a good six years though. Loved it in 2011 (WF 88). Colour: pale gold. Nose: so typically HP! There’s that heather honey that wasn’t quite to be found in the 15 and Valkyrie, more roundness, more dried fruits (figs, dates, pears, raisins) and earth rather than smoke. Orange blossom, dandelions, honeysuckle, and some nice whiffs of humus and garden peat. In short his baby’s more refined, and perhaps more civilised. Not quite Viking stuff this time, if you like. Mouth: indeed, a different world. Superb dried fruits mingled with some herbal syrup (Chartreuse, genepy, eucalyptus) and the expected honey, with a feeling of charred wood in the background. Rather a gentleman’s HP, if you will. Finish: medium, a tad rougher and grassier, but still quite wonderful. Ah our good old HP 18!… Comments: a little less fan of the finish, but Highland Park 18 years old remains a classy classic. SGP:552 - 87 points.

Perhaps a little indie? Let’s see what we can find…

Highland Park 24 yo 1992/2016 ‘Flowing Feature’ (45%, Selezione Silvano Samaroli, cask # 1252)

Highland Park 24 yo 1992/2016 ‘Flowing Feature’ (45%, Selezione Silvano Samaroli, cask # 1252) Four stars and a half From the great Silvano’s very last selection. Remember, this posthumous series had nothing to do with the Samaroli ‘brand’, since Silvano had sold his company quite a few years before. Colour: straw. Nose: it’s a naked and natural HP, with much fewer oak tones, and more minerality and fresh orchard fruits. Some fresh marzipan as well, apples, greengages, a little sunflower oil, and funny whiffs of ripe Provence melons (the orange ones). Impeccable profile. Mouth: very good, and rather more on dry citrus this time. Peppered grapefruit juice, bitter marmalade, a drop of seawater, and then more and more freshly ground pepper. It’s firm, a tad austere, and beautiful. Finish: a long spicy finish, but those aren’t quite oak spices. There are also dried guavas and papayas, which gives this baby an exotic side. Comments: extremely good, as expected. Cheers Silvano, up there in the skies! SGP:552 - 88 points.

More, many more HPs on WF soon.

(Merci Francesco)

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






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