Archive for the ‘Highland Park’ Category

Edition Spirits Highland Park 1997(?) 18 year old 56.7%

Bourbon/ Code: EDI0119/ Dist: 1997(?) Btl: Nov 2015(?)/ Tasted: Dec 2015

A superb nose of dusty peat, sweet barley and malt with a touch of balsamic baked apple, pomegranate and juicy vanilla. Lovely depth and complexity with a judicious sprinkling of duty spice.

The palate opens with sweet barley and toffee with some lightly bittering wood spice adding a counterpoint. Gently sooty peat on the middle but the oak is beginning to dominate. Intensely alcoholic and citric finish, which halts the oak and allows the lovely earthy peat, sweet peat and smoked meat notes to come through on the finish.


Carn Mor Black Gold Series Highland Park 1995 (20 year old) 54%

Sherry Hogshead 2475/ Dist: Nov 1995 Btl: Aug 2015/ Tasted: Aug 2015

The aromas are pretty tannic and gritty but softened by some luscious dark treacle. The dried fruit notes are very Armagnac-esque with prune, berries, raisin and dried citrus rind. Gritty smoke and French coffee notes appear with time. Yes, it’s very heavy on the sherry but there is plenty going on here!

Quite subtly smoked on the palate with the tannins appearing lighter and softer than the nose would lead you to believe. Again it displays an Armagnac-esque rancio with a touch of treacle. It continues in a softy tannic way on the middle but the coastal laced treacle notes balance superbly. Finally the spirit breaks through on the finish with plenty of mature barley, parma violets, French coffee and smoke. Now that’s a damn good sherry cask!

Mackillop’s Choice Highland Park 1991 (25 year old) 53.9%

Bourbon Cask 8103/ Dist: Dec 1991 Btl: Sept 2017/ Tasted: Nov 2017

A stunningly dense and honeyed nose with Cognac-esque apple, apricot and a smidge of mature, tropical fruit. The oak is subtly creamy and delicious and displays a lightly charred note with time. Finally hints of violets, earth, salt and an echo of gentle peat emerge.

The palate is wonderfully mature with barley, honey and a lovely, coastal twang. It becomes slightly woody and spicy with some darker dried fruit, smoke and bitter chocolate coming through. Multi-layered and stunningly deep with a subtle Cognac-esque note on the middle. Long, with lingering fruit, spice and smoke. A little drying at the death, but overall it’s a sensational whisky!

Mackillops Choice Highland Park 1985 (29 year old?) 45.5%

Bourbon Cask 370/ Tasted: May 2014

The aromas are quite herbal and heathery with dark malt, earthy-peat and background oak. Heavily fragrant with dusty, parma violets and sugar coated barley. Beautifully mature with a touch of dark honey.

The palate opens with some sweet barley, crunchy honey and vanilla oak. Some light peat smoke and violets drift in along with a touch of coal dust and sweet baked fruit on the middle. The fruit builds and broadens, developing a slight oxidised character. The alcohol and citrus freshens and a touch of heather emerges. Stunning, dark honey finish with the sweet fruit lingering. Wow! Stunning stuff!

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Highland Park 1996 (17 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2358/ Dist: Sept 1996 Btl: Feb 2014/ Tasted: Mar 2014

A lightly oiled but very dusty nose of sweet barley, sweet honey, apple and vanilla. There is a touch of smoke and granulated sugar and with time some burnt caramel notes.

The palate opens lightly milky with barley, apple and white fruit. That burnt caramel note comes through on the middle, flattening it somewhat. Reasonable length with the sweet honey emerging and a hint of salt emerging.

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Highland Park 1995 (18 year old) 50%

Code: OMC2387/ Dist: 1995 Btl: Oct 2014/ Tasted: Nov 2014

A big, juicy, maturing nose of tropical apple, apricot, banana and kiwi. Stunning clarity with hints of earth and a delicate thread of peat. It moves into lightly stewed fruit and herbs with time and a touch of salinity appears. If only all Highland Park was this good!

The palate is juicy and malty with slabs of light treacle coated fruit. A touch of tannin and chocolaty spice comes through on the middle along with some vanilla and playful smoke. It does begin to dry a little on the finish but the smoke and lightly peppery spices counter. Very long with a lovely citrus, parma violet and sea salt after-taste.

William Cadenhead Highland Park 25 Years Old 55.7%

Tasted: Oct 2013

Nose: A huge blast of raw Oloroso sherry. Raw tannins, raw dried fruit with hints of dark chocolate and some cardboard peat for good measure! Water makes no change, maybe it’s more vegetal now.

Palate: Raw, herbal and vegetal with plenty of chocolate and drying sherrywood tannins. Mouth puckeringly dry, bitter and tannic! Water softens it thankfully and brings out hints of prune, sultana and liquorice, but it also brings out a light sulphur blemish too!

Finish: Hammed by the tannins, but quite nutty and herbal. Water makes it green and sulphur stained.

Conclusion: A raw sherry monster, dry and bitter neat, but sulphured when diluted.

Malts of Scotland Highland Park 1986 (27 year old?) 54.1%

Tasted: Oct 2013

Nose: An intense and very natural nose with plenty of grainy, lightly coffee’d American oak notes. However some beautiful honeyed apricot, tangerine and thick cut orange marmalade balances the oak rather well. Full and rounded with a developing herbal nuance. Water makes the citrus notes incredibly juicy and emphasises the herbal notes.

Palate: Again very intense with earthy apricot, light banana and edgy barley. Very fleshy but quite woody in a grainy, tannic way. Water softens and emphasises the honey and citrus. Still fairly tannic but those notes are relegated to the background now.

Finish: Long and herbal with hints of white liquorice and finishing with a coastal flourish. Water, again emphasises the woody notes.

Conclusion: Yes it’s a little grainy and woody but it has a fabulous natural character and vibrancy.

That Boutique-y Whisky Company Highland Park (Master of Malts) 44.7%

Tasted: Oct 2013

Nose: The nose reeks of age. Opening with a big hit of marzipan laced fruit along with dusty, violety-peat. Then the rich and succulent, mature sherry unwinds adding hints of dark chocolate and coffee. The only downside is that the oak is too dominant.

Palate: Full and mature with moist fruitcake and crystallised violets. To be honest it’s a little watery with some encroaching wood tannins, although some young-ish barley and vanilla attempts to balance.

Finish: Medium length. Quite spicy but again a bit watery with some dusty peat, violets and bitter tannins.

Conclusion: Yes, there is some seriously old sherried malt here (Springbank? – tasted blind) but it’s a bit too old and watery. It feels like some younger spirit has been vatted in to give it some life, but I think ultimately it fails.

Single Malts Direct Whiskies of Scotland Highland Park 1990 (23 year old?) 51.8%

Tasted: Oct 2013

Nose: A beautifully soft and subtle nose of sweet barley, straw, mature white fruit, apricot and salt along with some lightly mature oak. Very complex with hints of waxed citrus fruit and honey. With time a light perfumed note appears.

Palate: Gentle, lightly oiled and a little spritzy with barley, mature honey, white fruit and salt. Pleasantly mature with hints of honey, earth and a little wood tannin. With time the mouth-coating oils develop.

Finish: Good length with an oily, white fruit finish punctuated by some light spice.

Conclusion. A very pleasant, mature Islander, which takes a little time to unwind and open.

Whiskies of Scotland (Single Malts Direct) Highland Park 25 year old 52.7%

Sherry/ Tasted: July 2012

Gentle, slightly perfumed, mature, first fill Oloroso aromas of juicy dried fruit cake with a delightful citrus rind note. Very complex with a lovely rancio of dates, lightly toasted raisins and prunes, coated in a light walnut syrup. Very clean, complex and very classy with some late charred wood and those spices becoming very dusty. A beautiful, mature sherry casked malt. 

The palate opens with some gorgeous, liquid, dark toffee, dates, prunes, raisins and liquorice, but a lovely, sharp, citrus twang balances. Wonderfully mature with a plenty of oxidative character. It does become a little drying as the tannins bite but that is to be expected at this age. Long finish, flecked with a touch of coal smoke and salinity. It becomes quite fresh as the salinity mingles with the citrus character. Beautifully balanced with a lovely violey after-taste. Conclusion: A lovely, mature, sherry cask.


Mackillop’s Choice Highland Park 1991 (21 year old) 52.7%

Bourbon Cask 8091/ Dist: Dec 1991/ Tasted: July 2012

Initially the nose is quite barky and woody with plenty of spice, malt and balsamic notes, but given time in the glass it settles down. Now some creamy oak emerges along with hints of violets and linseed putty. Wonderfully mature with a developing citrus seam.

The palate is gentle and again quite wood to begin with but the sheer weight of fruit following is more than able to stand up to those wood notes. Fleshy apricot, banana, Satsuma are joined by some light peat smoke, which although wispy does build rather pleasantly as does the creamy oak. A sublimely balanced palate! Very long with a touch of barbequed meat, gentle spices and a delightful salty twang. Conclusion: What can you say? Absolutely stunning stuff. Old Highland Park perhaps? (again delete that if I’m wrong!)

Mackillop’s Choice Highland Park 1988 (23 year old) 50.8%

Refill Sherry (?) Cask 716/ Dist: 1988 Btl: March 2012/ Tasted: Aug 2012

A dusty and slightly spicy nose with some edgy refill sherry notes along with some lively lemon and lime and just the faintest whiff of peat smoke. As the dustiness dissipates some lovely clean barley emerges along with hints of lemon cough drops and a late meaty/ Bovril/ balsamic note appears.

The palate is quite rich and sweet with plenty of demerara and cane sugar. This is followed by some pleasant malt and light balsamic notes on the middle. Piquant alcohol leads to some marzipan coated lemon, honey and fisherman’s friends notes in the finish. It signs off with a light peat smoke note.

A drop of water emphasises the citrus fruit and the aromas have become wonderfully succulent and juicy. The barley shines through now as does some slight coastal character. The palate is softer and more honeyed now, again dilution has emphasised the citrus, which balances the sugar notes. Wonderfully mature with a touch of sherry and wonderfully long with a lazy spiced finish and a gentle bittering from the oak.

Mackillop’s Choice Highland Park 1986 (28 year old) 50.9%

Bourbon Cask 2264/ Dist: June 1986 Btl: Jan 2015/ Tasted: Apr 2015

Lightly oiled but pleasantly fresh aromas of ozone and brine. A generous degree of husky barley and hints of Bowmore-esque parma violets. Elegant and sublimely balanced with the oak showing a slight buttery edge.

The palate is lightly fishy and peated with barley, light honey and lovely, mature, sawdusty oak. Hints of malt, liquorice, treacle and coffee come through on the middle adding a darker nuance to the flavours. Long, fresh and salty finish with a touch of parma violets and wood spice in the after-taste. A fantastic, mature HP!

Mackillop’s Choice Highland Park 1981 (31 year old) 53.8%

Bourbon Cask 56083/ Dist: Sept 1981 Btl: Mar 2013/ Tasted: Apr 2013

A dark, booding, deep, treacly rich and peaty nose. Earthy and fishy with a touch of briny accepted citrus. Gentle but complex with hints of perfumed, crystallised violets, manure, old wood and aged beeswax. What a nose! It just keeps on evolving. Now there’s some blood orange coated in treacle and some sublime, duty spices. With time it becomes rather herbal.

The palate begins with the earthy treacle malt along with some light peat smoke. Like the nose it is amazingly complex with dark fruit, old wood and fish. The oak has a lovely maturity and adds structure to the riot of rich, moist treacly moments. Sublimely balanced with a cleansing, fresh briny finish with a light violet nuance and a brown sugar fade, but that treacle refuses to go and liberally coats the mouth. Absolutely stunning!

Douglas of Drumlanrig Highland Park 1997 (13 year old) 46%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead 6551/ Dist: 1997 Btl: 2010/ Tasted: July 2012

The aromas are a touch on the industrial side and slightly youthful with some cereal notes. A bit thin with plenty of wood notes and a touch of tropical fruit and banana. 

The palate is very cereally, and again a bit on the industrial side. Some sweet barley does compensate a little along with a touch of hay and digestive biscuit. The industrial notes return on the finish. (The finish is very acerbic with an acetone like quality)