Highland Park 25yo
25 years old
Aged in a high proportion of European oak barrels of Sherry 1st fill
Highland Park, born 1798 from the imagination of Magnus Eunson : butcher and church officer…he was also a smuggler and an illicit distiller by night. He chose a place up from Kirkwall (Orkney’s largest city) to see the authorities coming, a Park High from town…thus the name Highland Park (absolutely no reference to the Scottish Highlands or the geographical position of Orkney compared to Mainland).
As for process goes, HP uses a small part of peated barley, about 20%, with their own peat. This one is very different than what can be found in the Highlands or on Islay. On Orkney, there is no tall vegetation, no trees, no shrubs. So the peat there is just decomposed grass, or heather, giving the whisky a much “smoother” peat side than other peated whisky. HP also uses, mainly, some of the highest quality Sherry casks. Just like for Macallan, Edrington possesses its own Sherry factory, helping to guarantee an enough arrival of Sherry casks. The use of Orkney’s peat and high quality Sherry casks is what makes HP such a unique Scotch.
As of late, Highland Park has been embracing its Vikings roots for every new expressions, except its core line and single casks. Some fans and industry members have criticized this portion of marketing. But I have to say, after spending 2 weeks on Orkney, it’s not HP embracing it : it’s the whole island. People have no idea how much Viking there is on the island : the streets, the boats names, the shops, etc. As someone there told me, Orkney has been part of the Danemark Kingdom for more than 6 centuries, and part of Scotland for less than 6. Do the math.
Colour : pure gold.
Nose : chocolate-raspberry mousse. Intense. Balanced by leather and a very light Orkney peat. Red berries, a little honey, and a hint of vanilla to sweeten it all !
Palate : peat and smoke explodes…all in one moment…then it’s over. We immediately go on with the aftermath of this explosion : creme brulee and burnt vanilla bean. A touch of spice is felt, which reminds me of fruit ketchup (this is a very Quebec-y thing). The whole is softened, or rather complexified, by some honeyed sweetness and dried apricots.
Final : long, slow, deep (I’m still talking about the whisky’s final you perverts). It’s warm and pleasant with a hint of spice and peat. We smell the whisky for long minutes after the last sip.
Comments : where to start ? It’s complex, intense, satisfying, epicurean. I’m not sure if I have the palate well developed enough to capture all the nuances. And yet, I have tasted hundreds of whiskies and dishes to practice (and for pleasure).
Still, I understand better why it is an exceptional whisky !
And just to let you go with another nice view, here is a picture I took on the same lookout as the front one, just 180° on the other side (and a few hours later) !
Highland Park 25yo 2013-2018
9.7Reader's Review
Reader Rating: (2 Votes)

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About The Author

I never liked vodka&orange or vodka&cranberry while going out in the Montreal Clubs. I was always drinking whisky&ginger ale or whisky&coke. At some point, I just let go of the liquors and started drinking whisky neat... I hated the taste but damn was I a badass in front of my friends ! Eventually, I stopped being a douche and started enjoying finer drams. Today, I’m making it my mission to taste every whisky and to know everything there is to know about spirits, wine and beer !

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