Google Highland Park Fire and great others

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

November 21, 2016


Highland Park Fire and great others

There are two kinds of people on this planet, the ones that believe that HP stands for Hewlett-Packard, and the ones that know that HP actually means Highland Park (S., that was the lousiest introduction ever!) Today, we’ll have the new official ‘Fire’, and then perhaps other HPs from the sample library. How many? We’ll see…

Highland Park 15 yo ‘Fire Edition’ (45.2%, OB, 2016)

Highland Park 15 yo ‘Fire Edition’ (45.2%, OB, 2016) Four stars No we shan’t comment on the packaging, even when tortured. This baby’s been matured in ‘refill Port wine seasoned casks’, which might be better news than if that had been ‘Port wine seasoned refill casks’ or even ‘seasoned refill Port wine casks’. No? Colour: gold, not reddish. Nose: I find it rather brutal and vegetal at first nosing, with pumpkins and beetroots, and certainly some blackcurrant leaves, moss, fern… Also whiffs of peonies (might be the Port) and a mineral/smoky side. Coal smoke, old stove, then a little menthol… It’s certainly quite coastal, but then again, the city of Oporto almost lies on the Atlantic coast, doesn’t it. Mouth: I like the palate rather better, which isn’t common. It’s smoky whisky, it’s got notes of jelly babies and raspberry jam, and both do tango (which isn’t very common either in my experience). It’s got a ‘smoky Port’ side, and to my utter amazement, that works. In the background, quite a lot of nutmeg and cinnamon, as well as blood oranges that just lift it. Finish: rather long, still on smoked and spiced raspberries. Comments: I’d have never thought this would work – but then again, they know what they’re doing. I liked the ‘Ice Edition’ just a little better (WF 88). Oh and by the way, nice bud vase! Alternatively, if you ever prepare homemade ketchup... SGP:653 - 87 points.

Highland Park 18 yo 1997/2016 (54%, Douglas Laing, Xtra Old Particular, cask #DL 11364, 285 bottles)

Highland Park 18 yo 1997/2016 (54%, Douglas Laing, Xtra Old Particular, cask #DL 11364, 285 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: straw. Nose: this confirms what we were already feeling, there’s more peat smoke in these batches from 15 to 20 years ago. It’s a grassy peatiness, with leaves and buds and stems, which works well with the bitter oranges in the background. But it’s quite austere – so far. With water: whenever I get wet chalk from my whisky, I’m happy. So, I’m happy. Mouth (neat): most certainly not a Port cask, but we’re really unexpectedly close to the Fire Edition. Blood oranges, nutmeg, and a very spicy smokiness. Some acridness. With water: excellent. Citrons, blood oranges, a mentholated side, some peppermint, maize bread… It does love water. Finish: medium, superbly zesty. More blood oranges, in other words. A feeling of verbena, or there, vetiver. Comments: a superb distillate! Takes its time, and loves water. Rather impressed, I have to say. SGP:552 - 89 points.

Highland Park 18 yo 1997/2015 (56.7%, Hunter Laing, First Editions, refill hogshead, cask #HL12099, 231 bottles)

Highland Park 18 yo 1997/2015 (56.7%, Hunter Laing, First Editions, refill hogshead, cask #HL12099, 231 bottles) Five stars Colour: pale gold. Nose: rather unsurprisingly, this is very similar. Same parcel of casks. It is perhaps a wee bit more mentholy, but other than that, it is the same whisky, more or less. With water: clay, chalk, dough, leaven! Mee like dis. Mouth (neat): same-ish indeed. Blood oranges, smoke, a little ginger, cinnamon, mints, citrons… With water: and chalk again, limestone… A Montrachet from Orkney. Finish: long, and even chalkier. Comments: shall we call this HP a professorial whisky? What’s sure is that it’s wonderfully mineral. Top notch distillate. SGP:452 - 90 points.

Highland Park 28 yo 1987/2016 (47.7%, Silver Seal, Aida, Cask #1555, 192 bottles)

Highland Park 28 yo 1987/2016 (47.7%, Silver Seal, Aida, Cask #1555, 192 bottles) Five stars Let’s see if this will be The Grand March… Colour: light gold. Nose: it’s wonderful to be able to check what ten further years in a regular cask (hogshead type) do to a distillate that’s otherwise very similar. In this case, we rather get more tiny herbs and mints. Genepy, gentian, peppermint, spearmint. Also some precious blue/green tea, a little linseed oil, perhaps a drop of turpentine (a true painter’s whisky), and once again a little chalk. This nose is just perfect, my friend. Mouth: top notch indeed, despite, or perhaps because of a whacky touch of yeasty cheese. Then passion fruits, more damp chalk, wormwood, cough syrup, those citrons, this Montrachety (!?) side, mint… What a palate! The oak’s maybe a little loud at times, but if you like pinesap as much as I do, you’ll just love it. Miles Davis was loud too (what?) Finish: long, on the very same notes, plus some greenish liquorice and perhaps a touch of bacon. Comments: we’re still going up, aren’t we. It’s a very expensive bottle, but I totally hate to say that the price is rather justified. SGP:462 - 91 points.

A last one for the road…

Highland Park 30 yo 1986/2016 (46.5%, Cadenhead, Small Batch)

Highland Park 30 yo 1986/2016 (46.5%, Cadenhead, Small Batch) Five stars Beware of the powers of small batch vattings! Colour: gold. Nose: ugly and repulsive. This is what we call a three-men whisky, one man who drinks it, while two other men have to hold him. Totally premoxed, smelling of discarded Chinese takeaway still sitting on the kitchen table after a very long night playing poker with your brothers-in-law. Mouth: putrid swill, total rotgut. Cask and whisky had great plans, but just like orange and yellow, they never quite went together. Finish: horrible. Paying your taxes is less painful. Comments: come on, of course it’s brilliant whisky. Epitomical mineral distillate that got perfectly polished and fruited-up by some excellent wood. The best cough syrup ever, which comes handy when December’s around the corner in our hemisphere. SGP:561 - 91 points.

I agree, better stop there.

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







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