One fine Odin’s Day a bunch of whisky anoraks gathered together to celebrate and taste some extremely fine drams, again thanks to Steve Rush of The Whisky Wire and also to the fine people at Highland Park for organising this tasting that I was extremely excited about and didn’t disapoint.
I like Highland Park (there’s not a brand I can think of that I specifically don’t like), but I’ve only really tried their 12 year old (and of course the Leif Eriksson), I’ve tried quite a few independent single casks, but I definitely don’t know Highland Parks own range so this was a rather educational night for me.
I really enjoyed this tasting, but it was too much of a rush for me as I left work 15 minutes before it was due to start so I got online late and hadn’t eaten anything so it was small measures for me all night and I generally felt like I was at least one dram behind everyone so I’m going to revisit these drams as I go along as I feel these drams deserve a lot more attention than I gave them on the night, hence why I’m almost a week late posting this.
Highland Park 12 Year Old – 40% ABV
@themisswhisky: @rodbodtoo @dramologist @HighlandPark or gargling with salt water #HPTT
@rodbodtoo: @dramologist @HighlandPark I get the salt – briney, like accidently swallowing a bit of seawater. Still no smoke. #HPTT
@thewhiskywire: @LRWhisky Defo some choc, Fry’s Chocolate Cream for me. #HPTT
@saint_jimmy: @HighlandPark 12YO Taste: rich and sweet. With caramel and Madeira. Dryish on the back of the tongue. Walnuts and dried almonds #HPTT
@TheWhiskyWire: More honied heather action, with granary toast smeared in smoked orange marmalade. #HPTT
@TheMissWhisky: As delicate as a ballerina whisping across the stage in Swan Lake – @HighlandPark 12 YO – #HPTT
Me: HP 12 YO – A liquidised crunchie bar? Dark chocolate orange with a bit of a sea breeze thrown in for good measure #HPTT
Revisited: A very fresh summery nose, I’m sure I remember more honey than this? Maybe a tiny bit of vanilla on the nose, some smoke and quite citrusy. On the palate I’m getting that honey I remembered, some more smoke, reminds me of dark chocolate with sea salt in it and maybe salted caramel.
Highland Park 15 Year Old – 40% ABV
@themisswhisky: @HighlandPark 15YO: sharp sweetness at back of throat as soon as I nose it. Like a strawberry-rhubarb crumble…#HPTT
@TheWhiskyWire: Light billowing whiffs of cindering hay bales, followed by a toffee & honey cuddle. #HPTT
@TheMissWhisky: Then pineapple syrup (the juice leftover after the fruit’s come out of a tin) along with sweet smoke…#HPTT
ME: @HighlandPark 15YO Nose: Very subtle (or is it me), fruity, syrupy, still got that HP honey, but quite a subtle nose on this one #HPTT
@S_Rob: HP15. Nose: Quite a bit drier than the 12. Freshly cut kiwi and grape with a little apple peeling note. Soot, sweeter behind #HPTT
@cowfish: #HPTT 15yo nose: Strawberry ice cream, rhubarb and custards, floral meadows, sweetened grapefruit juice, honey, tropical fruit squash.
@HighlandPark: @TIA568B slightly subtle on the nose. I think it still has that cereal not that we mentioned in the 12. Almost biscuit. #HPTT
@robdodtoo: 15 year old: Lots of yellow fruit notes now, syrup (with black pepper?), green/bitter note (like herb rocket) Complex! #HPTT
ME: HP15YO Taste: Guava and pineapples in a light syrup, malty, died coconut flakes, a bit of smoke, a lot there! #HPTT
@Jonmbryant: HP15 a cross between cadburys dairy milk, some lemons and stewed fruit #HPTT
Revisited: Very fruity on the nose, some more smoke, this time some honey’s coming through on the nose. On the palate it’s extremely fruity and that smoke’s really mellowed off, there’s a pleasant saltiness there too along with some gorse bush and heather. Due to the fruitiness I think I prefer this to the 12 YO, there’s a bit of cereal on the finish, it’s not unpleasant, but it doesn’t really do anything for me tonight I’m afraid.
Highland Park 18 Year Old – 43% ABV
@rodbodtoo: Highland Park 18 Year Old: Briney, but with some dried out seaweed. Oil from the top of old oil paints Sweet honey. #HPTT
@lizbonline: All I’m getting on the HP18 is nuts. Better stop eating the cashews. #HPTT
@cowfish: #HPTT 18yo nose: Lots of fruit – green apple, tinned pineapple, kiwi, lime zest and sweet pastry, backed up with smoke coal smoke.
ME: #HPTT 18 YO very fresh and fruity, great for a Spring evening like tonight, a bit of honey comb, some of the wood is coming through, lovely!
@Jasonbstanding: The nose is like a really sugary apricot jam! That’s why it reminds me of my granny. (i.e. her jam, not cos she was 18) #HPTT
@galg: @TheWhiskyWire Oh mama. a symphony of flavours, led by sherry, fruit and briny spiciness that lasts. a great deal of wood in here 2. #HPTT
@dramologist: @HighlandPark 18YO Palate: Rich spicy wood, buttery, orange cake, burnt citrus peel #HPTT
@s_rob: Finish is quite herbal, tarragon and light mint. Some firm tannins but softening all the time. Tobacco leaf. #HPTT
@rodbodtoo: HP18 opening up, freshening: a sea breeze in your face as you chew on a toffee you earlier dropped on some scorched oak shavings #HPTT
Revisited: A bit more smoky and woody on the nose, a little grassy, a little floral, quite a bit going on here. On the palate smoke, lightly peated, toffee, honey, a hint of coffee, very sugary madeleine cakes and then there’s the fruitiness I remember from the other night leading onto a bit of a salty dry finish, but extremely nice.
Highland Park 25 Year Old – 48.1%
@thewhiskywire: A toffee led nasal implosion of smoked bourbon, rye spice, fennel & toasted walnuts. #HPTT
@cowfish: #HPTT 25yo nose: Fig, apple, sweet lime, marzipan, sweet pastry, wax polish, hint of cooling spice (mint/menthol/clove), dry wood.
@highlandpark; @galg @thewhiskywire should be more honey and butterscotch. Luxury vanilla ice cream, with that nutmeg lingering again. #HPTT
ME: So much going on with the 25YO, spicy, nutmeg, fruity, woody, mint chocolate chip ice cream, honey ofc, woody, a bit of dunnage #HPTT
@TheMissWhisky @HighlandPark 25 YO palate: wandering through a pine tree forest after a rain, eating a honeyed plum in the sun & smoking a cigar…#HPTT
@S_robb: HP18yo Taste: All on the dark fruit jams, brown sugar. Wood spice; cinnamon, fragrant cardomom…faint rubber now #HPTT
ME: The only thing that comes to mind with the finish of the @HighlandPark 25 year old is CANDYFLOSS! Is it just me? #HPTT
@saint_jimmy: @HighlandPark 25YO, taste: No real smoky notes. Lovely syrupy texture. Notes of nougat and orange marmalade. Allspice and clove #HPTT
Revisited: The nose has completely changed from the 18 year old, extremely fruity, apples, nutmeg, that deep woody smell reminds me of pianos (but it’s probably that wax polish mentioned by @cowfish as I don’t think pianos have a distinct smell), it’s one of those drams you could sit and nose all night. On the palate, honey, vanilla, spicy, very fruity, but dry, lots of tannin, minty and chocolatey, pretty much what I tasted the other night. The finish is long I’m getting a lot more woody, old furniture notes than I did last time, but I agree with the little I wrote about it before, the flavours of old wood reminds me of walking through a dunnage then right at the end I get that very sweet confectionery taste that I can’t help, but associate with candyfloss.
Highland Park 30 Year Old – 48.1% ABV
@themisswhisky: @HighlandPark Interesting first nose of 30YO: ketchup, salt & vinegar crisps and coca cola bottle sweets…#HPTT
@TheWhiskyWire: mmmmmm, caramel covered raisins & the freshly baked warm waft of Danish pastries. #HPTT
@S_Rob: HP30. Nose 2: Growing more tropical; under-ripe mango and sweet melon. A little seaside, very fresh for its age. #HPTT
@jasonbstanding: 30yo: farkinell, that’s even MORE furniture-polishey! That’s gonna be wood, isn’t it? Maybe it’s more furniture than polish. #HPTT
@rodbodtoo: Highland Park 30 Year Old: super-elegant masculine perfume (James Bond?) spilt onto millionaires raisins #HPTT
@cowfish: #HPTT 20yo nose: Sweet and floral, unripe peach & mango, sweet buttery pastry, marzipan, cola bottles, metallic tang, sticky cherries.
ME: The nose on the 30 YO really gets your attention, so much going on there! Also getting the cola bottles, furniture polish and v fruity #HPTT
@rodbodtoo: Oh yeah, furniture polish. Furniture polish to turn Pinocchio into some sort of weird fetishist #HPTT #30yo
@HighlandPark: @galg @saint_jimmy when you compare them you see the chocolate and plum notes are similar.down to the European oak working its magic. #HPTT
@galg: HP 30 : oh mama. wood in piles, sherry, and plum jam mixed with chocolate truffle, whispering earthy peat, cinnamon, nutmeg, fruit., #HPTT
@Saint_jimmy: @HighlandPark 30YO, taste: Full bodied, very spicy. Liquorice. Soy sauce. Burnt sugar develops towards toffee and caramel #HPTT
Revisited: Yup, furniture polish on the nose, lots of deep rich woody notes coming through, but at the same time it’s very fruity and maybe a hint of cinnamon in there too. On the palate, tobacco, cigar smoke, rich coffee , dark soy sauce, spicy, baked plums, copper, salty, very deep and rich. So much going on with this dram, just wish I could afford a bottle so I could appreciate it some more!
Highland Park Thor – 16 Years Old, 52.1% ABV
@rodbodtoo: Highland Park Thor. I wouldn’t have expected this of the God of Thunder, but, it’s ELEGANT. And Flowers. #HPTT
@HighlandPark: Thor is made to represent that qualities of the Norse legend. Epitomising his strength, power and sometimes simple nature. #HPTT
ME: @rodbodtoo That was my first impression too, very light and elegant on the nose
@TheWhiskyWire: Forest fruits, ginger nut biscuits, smoked mango & a rasher of bacon being singed on a beach barbecue. #HPTT
Me: Very fruity and floral, a whisp of smoke, definitely some ginger, sweet, but maybe not honey this time? #HPTT
@HighlandPark: There is more to this character. A sensitive side. Guarding Asgard, ushering fallen warriors. A subtle sweetness brings this to life. #HPTT
@Dramologist: Ginger and spice, brown sugar, and a bit of that @HighlandPark salt #HPTT. And i like the bacon rasher note! @TheWhiskyWire
@rodbodtoo: Highland Park Thor. a bitty spiritous, then fresh barley notes. Or maybe oats – Whoah! Now it’s salty. #HPTT #ChameleonDram
@LRWhisky: #HPTT #Thor For me on the nose, smoke, salt and with hints of fresh cabbage in the background bizarrely
@Dramologist: @HighlandPark Thor Palate: Jamaican Ginger cake, a bit of pot pourri florals, more citrus, spice and some char #HPTT
Revisited: I was unbelievably excited to try this one! The presentation of it’s great and it’s got a cool name so I was very fortunate to get a sample of this one. Going from the 30 year old to this the nose is rather disappointing, but it’s around half the age so that’s hardly a fair comparison. As was said on the night it’s a very delicate dram, not what you’d expect of something called “Thor”, it’s light, fruity, a hint of smoke and slightly coastal on the nose. That first sip delivers a lot more than the nose, lots of ginger, fruity, berries, vanilla, rather smoky like BBQ crisps or BBQ sauce, a lot of woody notes coming through, but at the same time it tastes like there’s been some brown sugar slipped into the glass. I find the finish quite buttery and salty with some lingering ginger. Overall it’s a great dram, but on a thundery night I’d take the warmth of the 30 year old!
You can read Steve Rush’s write up of the night here. Again, thank you very much to Steve and the team at Highland Park for making this night possible!