Highland Park – Magnus – 40%
Info: Only available in North America. Matured in Sherry seasoned American oak casks. No colouring.
Colour: Clear straw.
Nose: Fairly young and sweet malt with a good vanilla hit and great wafts of highland heathland peat, slightly floral.
Palate: Very easy to the palate, you can hold it on your tongue for ages enjoying the gentle spices, malt and peat, which all play together nicely with a slight earthy note. The youngish malt is there, and it’s enjoyable, it really helps show off the distillery character. Continue reading
Highland Park Valkyrie – 45.9% abv
Info: Released earlier in the year. Listed as “a slight departure from our core 12 Year Old whisky” this has had more peated malt used than the regular bottlings, around 50% peated malt. Natural colour. This release replaces Dark Origins but isn’t sherried like that was.
Colour: Fairly light and bright golden yellow.
Nose: Malty with honey heather coal peat tones, not at all costal, but high healthland peat. Behind that it’s a summer fruit cup of slightly ripe citrus fruits with lots of vanilla custard after some air gets to it.
Highland Park Fire Edition – 15 Year Old – 45.2% abv
Info: Highland Park Fire Edition is the second of a two part series, which started with Ice Edition. It was matured in 100% refill Port seasoned casks (I’m not totally sure what that means, how long were they seasoned for?). 28,000 bottles, natural colour.
Colour: Gold, with just the smallest hint of pink.
Nose: Musty, dusty, heathery floral malt with hints of sweet smoke, cinnamon and dark chocolate. With enough time hints of barley start to come out. There’s notes of black and red wine gums.
Highland Park 1999 – 16 Year Old – G&M / TWE Exclusive
Info: This is an exclusive bottling for The Whisky Exchange by Gordon & MacPhail. It’s a 16 year old distilled in 1999… coming from cask #4260, a first-fill bourbon barrel, bottled at 56.6% abv.
Colour: Light summery gold, clear and bright.
Nose: Good and strong on your nose, don’t inhale too quickly. There’s a medium sweet floral fruit nose, hints of farmyard, citrus tones and burnt embers from honied heathery dry peat.
Palate: Although it’s strong, it’s easily introduced on to your palate with sweetness at the front, followed up by spices which layer the longer you hold it on your tongue. The peat here is reasonably restrained, but it’s there, it’s sweet and musty with wood smoke.
Highland Park Ice Edition – 17 Year Old – 53.9% abv
Info: Highland Park have matured Ice Edition for 17 years predominantly in ex-bourbon casks and limited globally to 30,000 bottles. Ice will be followed by Fire in 2017.
Colour: Light gold and clear. There’s no colouring here.
Nose: Sweet puffs of dry summery peat, think the sort of peat that might be produced on moors covered in flowering heather. Lots of gentle tropical fruits, think bananas which are just getting to the ripe stage, not totally black, but getting there. Boiled sweets (candies).
Palate: Fairly thick and oily, covering your mouth with warming but gentle spices (think root ginger) which only slowly build. There’s plenty of sweet fruits up front, those tropical notes on the nose coming through nicely on the palate, ripe mango maybe.
Highland Park 25 year old – 45.7%abv
Info: One of my favourite drams… I seem to have forgotten to review it!
Colour: Rich autumn gold.
Nose: Old heathery mushy peaty heathland on a sweet smelling summer evening. There’s some older slightly peppery oak notes. Hints of Love Heart sweets.
Palate: Fairly oily and smooth, slightly waxy with spices gently building. Backdrop of sweet malt and hints of smoke puffs. Almost a little fizzy on your tongue.
Finish: Gently slow and long, reminiscent of glowing embers… warming on your chest and nicely relaxing.
Highland Park Dark Origins 46.8 %
Notes: This latest addition to the core expressions uses twice as many first fill sherry casks than in the classic Highland Park 12 year old resulting in a naturally darker, richer flavour. Dark Origins is a combination of 80% first fill sherry casks (of which 60% is European oak and 20% American) and 20% refill sherry.
Colour: Rich early autumn gold.
Highland Park 18yo 43% abv
Info: Lightly peated whisky from Orkney.
Colour: Medium to light gold with clear tints.
Nose: Light puffs of well aged floral peat smoke mingle with rich oaky notes and barley. There’s tannins and some older autumnal fruits along with drops of honey.
Palate: The palate is smooth and easy to get into with some spices that build gently. There’s a constant backdrop of oak along with barley, and that floral peat which is light but gives everything a nice depth. At the back is those honeyed stewed autumnal fruits.
Finish: The finish is warming on your chest and lasts for quite a long time with a sweet, herbal edge to it.
Highland Park Odin – 55.8% abv
Info: 16yo, created from a combination of Spanish oak sherry casks and re-fill hogsheads.
Colour: Rich autumnal gold, touch of rust.
Nose: A light smokiness leads you in to gentle citrus fruits, tangerines and then back to peaty smokiness again, a light floral peat smoke, not your heavy Islay smoke. In the background there’s touches of fairly old oak soon superseded by milk chocolate notes, then back to citrus.
Palate: Really thick, gently oaky, very oily and peaty; peat almost going to the coal side of things, in a good way… Similar to the nose it’s a very light floral peat, no TCP, the more it opens up a BBQy type peat flavour comes out.
Highland Park 12 Year Old – OB – 40%
Continuing my series of self purchased, standard range drams, let’s take a focus on Highland Park’s entry level whisky… a well priced dram from a much loved distillery!
Colour: Light gold. I’m reliably told that HP don’t use any colouring in their whiskies, good to know!
Nose: A friendly sweet malt greets you with hints of peat, honey and heather. We’re talking a dry mainland (or Orkney) type of peat here, not the Islay type of coastal iodine peat, it’s a much gentler beastie. There’s hints of dry spice, grass / hay, oak and liquorice.