Highland Park was one of my early favourites when starting out on my malt journey. Time to see how a large part of the standard range comes out here in 2011.
Highland Park 12 yo, 40%
Nose: citrus and toffee caramel - golden toffee. Crisp biscuits and some fruit. All good.
Taste: Sparkles in the mouth. A little peat coated in honey sweetness nicely balanced with flowers. In the finish a little smoke appears. A great 12 year old whisky!
This baby is mainly from european oak and it seems to me that the profile has changed over the years. Still a cracker though.
Highland Park 15 yo, 40%
Nose: Fruits like kiwi and melon. Fresh, light and kind. Citrus fruits and bonfire smoke.
Taste: Malty freshness, citrus and meadow flowers. The finish is dry. Not my HP favourite.
Highland Park 18 yo, 43%
Nose: Flowers and honey, great mouthfeel. Sweet and full of joy. Salted almonds. A sherry harmoy that lights up this humble taster.
Taste: Beautiful honey, heather, flowers that caress. Like the perfect dream you don't wanna wake up from. Fruity notes flicker by and ends in a dry finish.
This whisky is combined of 40-50 casks. It has always been a favourite of mine and will continue to be so.
Highland Park 21 yo, 47.5%
This 21 yo is from american oak that has held sherry. According to a HP representative it should contain whisky more than 40 years of age and in style is aiming to be close to the old Bicentenary.
Nose: delicious. Crispy nuts and golden cornfields united. 'Burnt' candy, fresh made coffee. Really fantastic.
Taste: simply beautiful. A juicy complexity with vanilla and wood from the cask in just the right amounts. A synergetic whisky.
Highland Park 25 yo, 48.1%
Nose: the 50% 1st fill sherry european oak comes forward. The sensation is of deep sherry, boiled fruits accompanied by tangerines, nuts and pine.
Taste: what a whisky! The balance is out of this world. Sherry, fruits, nuts, raisins and pine wood. This 25 yo is better than I remember. Has it improved over the years or is it just me?
Highland Park 30 yo, 48.1%
Nose: Nutty chocolate, brittle, diesel-sherry. Almost beyond words.
Taste: Harmonic and complex for sure but it's actually hard to pin down specific notes after the stunning 25 yo. There is a sweetness but it's also a bit thin, again compared to it's smaller sibling. Perhaps it's the fact that more refill casks have been used here.. It's like a mountain climber well on his way dreaming of the summit but when he gets close the weather changes and he has to return down. A fine dram that deserves to be enjoyed on its own.
Concluding comments: Highland Park has more than stood the test over time and is still a favourite of mine. The quality is high and the style really suits my palate. For me, the 12 yo seems to be the one which has changed the most over the years. The 25 yo especially is a fantastic whisky and I look forward to trying the Viking range in the not so distant future.