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August 20, 2014


Three Sherried Highland Park

Well, more sherried than others, at least. Let’s try to compose a worthy little trio today…

Highland Park 'Dark Origins' (46.8%, OB, 2014)

Highland Park 'Dark Origins' (46.8%, OB, 2014) Four stars According to the distillers, this newish NAS version uses 'twice as many first fill sherry casks than in the classic Highland Park 12 year old'. So, which proportion of first fill sherry is there in the classic 12 yo? Colour: deep gold. Nose: I shouldn’t have read that, as I’m now finding a style that reminds me of the older silkscreened 12 yos. My mind playing tricks, probably. Heather honey and roasted chestnuts plus quite some polished wood, warm sawdust and raisins. Then touches of earth and a little camphor, always a jolly good sign. If you wait long enough, you’ll also find oranges and chocolate, rather ala Dalmore. Mouth: starts slightly smoky and liquoricy, before many dried fruits join in the dance. The oak feels a bit, and I wouldn’t say it’s a perfectly polished old HP, but the smoke and even the zesty minerality that sits in the background do make up for that side. I think it’s a success. Finish: long, and even smokier. One of the smokiest recent HPs if you ask me. That’s a surprise. Salted liquorice and smoked ham in the aftertaste. Comments: beats the NAS warriors if you ask me, and it seems that it’s rather fairly priced. Okay, it doesn’t beat the lovely ‘Ragnvald’. SGP:553 - 87 points.

Highland Park 15 yo 1998/2014 (53.5%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 14011, sherry hogshead, 166 bottles)

Highland Park 15 yo 1998/2014 (53.5%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 14011, sherry hogshead, 166 bottles) Four stars and a half Another pretty new one by the wizards aus Paderborn. Colour: deep amber. Nose: bang bang! It’s quite heavy, and quite chocolaty, its got classic heavy sherry, its got plenty of freshly sawn oak and other woods (pine?), it’s got touches of damp earth and mud, and it’s got this feeling of armagnac that works so well. Add a drop of tar liqueur and maybe one of liquid smoke. And one of mint liqueur (crème de menthe.) With water: tar liqueur everywhere! Pine tar… Mouth (neat): much less a classic now. An unusual combination of spicy oak with fresh fruits, instead of anything ‘fruitcake’. So there’s a bitterness (strong liquorice) and lots of oranges and peaches. Also a little artichoke liqueur (try that!) and myrtle. Gives this baby an acrid side, but no big deal. With water: its really fun. Not unlike a cocktail made out of many old herbal liqueurs. Excuse me? Yes, that would include chartreuse. Finish: long and herbal. Comments: not classic sherry. It’s very ‘different’. Vive la difference! SGP:362 - 88 points.

Highland Park 18 yo 1988 (60.2%, Bennachie Special Reserve, sherry, cask #11920, 492 bottles, +/-2006)

Highland Park 18 yo 1988 (60.2%, Bennachie Special Reserve, sherry, cask #11920, 492 bottles, +/-2006) Four stars and a half Bennachie’s a strange brand. I think I’ve tried their blends as well, but sadly, never the genuine old Bennachie. Colour: deep gold. Nose: great, that’s all I can say. Ultra-classic and mega-classy HP goodness, with extra-layers of meaty things and camphory stuff. This time we have a huge smoky Christmas cake, as well as many tiny herbal notes, parsley, chives, fennel, lovage and all that. Unbeatable style as far as rather heavy sherry’s concerned. With water: many mineral notes, new tyres, clay, ‘good’ sulphur… Mouth (neat): did I mention a Christmas cake? With water: big sherried HP, slightly rough and gritty, but that goes well with the distillate. Crystallised oranges, dried bananas, fruitcake, honey cake… and all that. Finish: long, with more spices. Cloves, as often in heavily sherried whiskies. And tobacco, and a little leather. Comments: little-known bottlers can have great whiskies, even when they use the names of long-gone distilleries. Ah well… SGP:551 - 89 points.

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



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