Review: Highland Park 40 Year Old

hlpob_40yov1To compliment my recent review of the Warrior Series I thought it was time to crack open my Highland Park 40 Year Old sample to see just how good it is. And yes, it’s very good! See bottom of this post for PR blurb.

Highland Park 40yo – 48.3%

Colour: Autumnal deep full gold

Nose: Old! Heaps of old cask wood notes, leather, polish, bees wax, honey and restrained sweetness amongst Highland Park’s trademark and ever-present smoky highland heather hints and old malted barley.

Palate: Medium but full oiliness on the mouth makes way for instant smoothness that soon builds to a good strong pinch of spices. Although it’s obviously old it’s still surprisingly sprightly, the smoke from the peat still very much present giving it a very slight fizz on your tongue. What a delight. While holding it on the tongue the more wooden notes and polish start to come out, but that’s not a problem at all, they add great extra taste to an already reasonably complex dram.

Finish: I overuse smooth as a term, but this really is, it glides down, a touch of freshness appearing after a moment or two, leaving oils full of flavour over your palate that stick around for a good long while. Beautiful, old, gently warming and luscious.

Thoughts: Don’t attempt this early evening as you won’t appreciate it properly… have a few other drams first and then finish off on this one and you’ll be happy as Larry, it’s gorgeous. If money was no object everyone should have a bottle of this. 95.


Official Notes: Released in 2008, Highland Park 40 was named Best New Release of the Year at the World Whisky Awards 2009. It has been largely matured in refill casks, that is to say casks that have previously been used to mature whisky. Every time a cask is used, its ability to impart an influence on the spirit is diminished. When laying down a whisky for extended maturation, such as this, it is important that the cask doesn’t dominate the spirit.  If first fill casks had been used, the sweetness (an oak-derived additive quality from the cask) would have been too strident. The long-term nature of the maturation of Highland Park 40 year old allows time for the perfect balance to be achieved. The colour, as with all bottlings of Highland Park, is entirely natural; the delicate coppery paleness of the whisky is down to the judicious use of refill casks. The strength (alcohol by volume) is relatively high at 48.3% to deliver maximum flavour.

(Shortened) PR Blurb: Highland Park has embarked on an exciting partnership with Linn, bringing award-winning whisky together with the best music systems in the world. To celebrate 40 years of exceptional music performance Highland Park has teamed up with Linn to create a limited edition Sondek LP12 Turntable, created from the solid oak casks used to mature Highland Park whisky. A special bottling of Highland Park 40 year old whisky has been designed exclusively to be paired with the bespoke turntable. With just forty Limited Edition Highland Park and Linn Sondek LP12 Turntables available worldwide, they are expected to sell out quickly and become a highly collectible item.  The turntables can be ordered through Linn’s global network of specialist retailers, priced at £25,000.

Highland Park Linn Sondek

The 40yo is available from The Whisky Exchange for £950.

Thanks to Highland Park for the sample.

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