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

December 31, 2021


Whiskyfun

A smaller bag of Highland Park

Dragon
Together with Angus, we've tried loads of HPs in 2021. There are always many HPs coming out, including all those 'Secret Orkneys' that would tend, unless finished in first-fill-PX-seasoned-scratched-wood, to be totally excellent. As for our apéritif today, a recentish official NAS that had slipped through our fingers should do…

Okney's Maeshowe Dragon - >


Highland Park 'Dragon Legend' (43.1%, OB, +/-2017)

Highland Park 'Dragon Legend' (43.1%, OB, +/-2017) Three stars and a half
More peat and more sherry in this one, apparently, but also more unlikely legends and stories, in this very case a fight between a dragon, Fafnir, and a Viking warrior, Sigurd. You'll have noticed that it wasn't bottled at 43%, rather at 43.1%, which does leave us all speechless. It had been bottled quite some years ago but I had never tried it. Colour: gold. Nose: a little metallic and teaish, and certainly pretty leafy. Some damp earth and touches of black olives, while the sherry had been, indeed, very leafy. Touches of green plums as well and the faintest soapiness. Some toffee after five minutes, while it would rather improve, globally. Mouth: peaty indeed, salty, then spicy. Ginger cake, some dried dates, muscovado sugar, then lemon marmalade, while that peatiness would fade away. Echoes of Oban. Finish: medium, leafier again. Cherry stem tea, a little leather, a little olive brine (black olives). Comments: I do enjoy HP ex-refill HHD, or bourbon, much better, naturally, but I find this pretty good as well. So, who won, the Viking or the dragon?
SGP:462 - 83 points.

What are they going to do at the SMWS when most of the blue chip Distilleries will fordbid the use of their names or only sell 'blends'? Will they use random numbers? Or only bottle good-karma names that would not do that?

Highland Park 12 yo 2008/2021 (61.3%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #4.270, 'From Heather Moore to Seashore', bourbon hogshead, 244 bottles)

Highland Park 12 yo 2008/2021 (61.3%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #4.270, 'From Heather Moore to Seashore', bourbon hogshead, 244 bottles) Four stars and a half
Colour: white wine. Nose: extremely rough and rustic, spirity, acetone-y and close to the rawest vodka, but rather bizarrely, I think this works a treat. Whisky as if Man had had no say in its making. With water: totally on chalk, porridge, wool, sourdough and grist. No heather and no 'seashore' that I can find at this point, but I'm sure that'll pop out on the palate. Mouth (neat): sweet Vishnu, this is a big rock and roller, extremely grassy, rugous, aggressive, you would almost believe someone distilled stadium grass. Which, I suppose, they usually do every week in Glasgow (I'm afraid they'll never let me in again). With water: perfect tight lemons, grapeseed oil, grass, green tea, a touch of rubber, and then indeed, oysters. Oysters do suggest 'the seashore', do they not. Finish: long, perfect. Lime grass dough and brine. Sends shivers down your spine. Comments: no heather that I could find, I must be heather-blind. Now what I found is a pretty perfect naked young HP de la muerte. But please use water.
SGP:372 - 88 points.

Highland Park 22 yo 1998/2021 (56.8%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, for LMDW, first fill bourbon barrel, cask #5300, 183 bottles)

Highland Park 22 yo 1998/2021 (56.8%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, for LMDW, first fill bourbon barrel, cask #5300, 183 bottles) Four stars and a half
I have this feeling… Colour: light gold with a bronze hue. Nose: was there a nail in the cask? What's sure is that this is a rather sumptuous nose, richer than the others (it's 22, S.) with some lime tea at first, a whiff of violets,  then a little patchouli, breads and cakes, mirabelles and quinces (hurray), celeriac, carrots, fir honey, peppermint, myrtle for sure… Lovely complexity, which you'll only get with age anyway. Same with men (yeah right). With water: wow. Stunning earthiness, white truffles, old cellar, dunnage… Mouth (neat): these are very hard to beat. Many HPs by G&M have been hard to beat, especially some old 'CASK' versions, well that's how we used to call them. Liquorice, sourdough, wholegrain bread, mentholy honey, walnut wine, marmalade… This is one of those funny fresh ASBs that could impart fino-like notes to the spirit, unless those were in the distillate from the beginning. With water: a wee tad on the woody side at this point (oak oils) but otherwise superb. Finish: long, solid, firm, and as they say in London, assertive. Comments: it's great to have this one after the SMWS, I love them both, for opposite reasons. Stunning consistency in both, you could almost chew these HPs.
SGP:462 - 89 points.

An Orkney Distillery 8 yo 2012/2021 (57.1%, Watt Whisky, hogshead, 392 bottles)

An Orkney Distillery 8 yo 2012/2021 (57.1%, Watt Whisky, hogshead, 392 bottles) Four stars
If they bottled this one at 8 that's because they thought it was ready. Sound obvious but believe me, that's not always obvious everywhere. Colour: white wine. Nose: active wood, butterscotch, custard, croissants, rich ale, mashed potatoes and shortbread. A little maple syrup and, perhaps, a little heather honey. Doesn't scream HP this far but it's lovely. With water: more on dough, paraffin, earth and chalk… Mouth (neat): very good, fattish, orangey, with rather a lot of earl grey, bergamot bonbons, touches of ginger and then oriental pastries, orange blossom water, honeyed water… With water: just yep. Gentian! Notes of bananas in the background, most probably from the wood. Finish: medium long, more fresh and herbal. Some spearmint, roots, beets, the aftertaste being a tad rubbery, perhaps. Comments: I'm not sure you could have a better HP at 8. Great age/quality ratio – but why count?
SGP:462 - 87 points.

A last one, an even younger one:

Secret Orkney 2017/2021 (59.8%, Swell de Spirits, palo cortado finish octave, cask #717/6C)

Secret Orkney 2017/2021 (59.8%, Swell de Spirits, palo cortado finish octave, cask #717/6C) Three stars
Boy oh boy oh boy, an octave… 2017, wasn't that just yesterday? And vertical writings on labels are very cool, but perhaps not on a Mac's screen… ooh my neck! (S., are you done complaining yet?) Colour: gold. Nose: modern. Plantains, bruised bananas, panettone, teak oil, Barbour grease, leather polish (Connolly's, naturally) and beer sauce. Like, reduced trappiste. With water: carbonnade flamande, sauna oils, leather polish, smoking bidis, new-sawn plywood. Mouth (neat): no, it's pretty good if extreme. Totally modern, highly extractive, actually extreme indeed in that respect, with litres of essential oils, thyme, some rubber, bicycle inner tube, pickled ginger… With water: citrus coming to the rescue, which always works, but otherwise it's really getting tannic, green, tough… I would suppose younger generations of drinkers/tasters will be rather more into this style of whisky; this member of the old guard will remain a little prudent and circumspect. Finish: very long, green, with more essential oils. Loads of green spices then, bitters, ginger, Jägermeister... Comments: my flame's starting to flicker here, as they say in Rome. Totally spectacular for sure, but probably a little 'too much' for me. I agree, that's my problem...
SGP:273 - 80 points
(grain of salt etcetera).

But don't do that to me too often! ;-)

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Highland Park we've tasted so far

 

 

 
   

 

 

 

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