Islands – 43%ABV – 750ml bottle – $35 | £23 | €26
So, I’ll be quite honest when I say the only reason I purchased this is because it said “Highland Park” and it was a $35 dollar bottle. You may have seen in a previous post that the best dram for me in 2009 was the Highland Park 18yr. I am a devotee of Highland Park and, for me, everytime I have a sip of their nectar I have a Shehecheyanu moment. Highland Park whiskies are that special for me.
On top of that, John Hansell of Malt Advocate gave this particular expression a nice little review. I’ll pay $35 for an 83pt whisky (especially if it’s Highland Park)!! You can check out John Hansell’s review here.
Without any further ado, here are my notes on this fine little dram:
Initial Whiff — Very delicate and quite briny, almost like a slightly intense Scapa 16yr (that review to follow in the coming weeks), oaky, hint of fried pineapple, honeycomb breakfast cereal (does that exist outside of the US??)
Palate — Increasingly fruity, tropical, syrupy mouth feel (can this really only be a $35 bottle??), ever slight earthiness (can’t place it, but the feel the flavor gives me is that of things growing in the springtime – it must be the youthfulness of the spirit), sweet onion, this is a punchy little dram.
Finish — Medium length, just as biting as you’d expect from 43% (though I would have loved to have tried this at 46%), after a minute or two I notice a stronger smokiness in my mouth I did not detect earlier.
In sum — This is not a very “Highland Park” Highland Park. It’s quite different from the 12yr, 15yr or 18yr. And while it’s not the most spectacular dram I’ve ever had, I can see myself reaching for this in an instant. This is a really nice every day dram though, no doubt about it. Quite well done and oh so worth the price spent (if not more – though don’t tell the kind folks at MacPhail’s, it’ll be our secret. Just you and me. Ssshhhhh!!)
Continuation of the “In sum” portion of this post — So, I pored myself a nice healthy portion (my guess is about 6.5cl) and I tend to only use the first 2cl of a dram for review. I’m about 4cl in and, wow, just a really nice dram. A nice little cracker and so very perfect for the springtime or a cooler summer day. I’ll take this in place of a cold beer any day – extremely refreshing! Heck, I’d take this over water (this is the “Water of Life” after all, right??)