Highland Park makes damn fine whisky. And one of the neatest things about this distillery is that they make good whisky at almost any age. The 12 year old flagship is an absolute go-to malt for many folk I know, while the older expressions are the things to serve kings and queens. And the 18, of course, is oft considered one of the world’s great whiskies.
A few loping strides further along though, is where you start to see the majesty of this distillery. As you enter the two decade mark for Highland Park (and beyond, if you’re one of the fortunate few), you’ll see a character almost unparalled. Part of the reason for this is simply due to the fact that the spirit itself carries such a diverse profile. At once honey sweet and richly smoky. You’ll find complexity and individuality in any of the range’s expressions. So…you can only imagine what happens when you allow a malt like this to take its time and mellow in the cask for a few extra years.
Bottled at a still healthy 48.1% abv, after 25 years in oak, this thick rich nectar is a beautiful brunette I’m more than happy to curl up with. A real charmer, rich in huge notes of sherried fruits, faint billows of peat smoke and chocolate. Complimentary notes are a soft dried fruitiness, honey nougat (think Toblerone) and a toffee creaminess. Finally, there is a rich and comforting note of fine unlit cigar all over this whisky. You’ll find a wee bit more smoke than peat (deep and dark smoke), though both are more restrained than in younger expressions, and fine layer of salt over it all.
A beautiful dram. Really.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt