Tonight I had took the time to taste three drams by Highland Park.

Thanks to Steve Prentice of somersetwhisky.com the Highland Park new make is now here. I have also been send a generous gift of Highland Park Fire Edition.

The box is given to me by the kind people of Typhoon Hospitality, who represent Highland Park in the Netherlands. Thank you Renee and Lisa!

First I nosed and tasted the New Make Spirit I got from Steve Prentice. Second I tasted the 12 yo. Last I tasted the “Fire Edition”.

I have listed my notes in the table below. n stands for nose, m for mouth (taste).

What you will see is that the peat is present in all three liquids. Be it in different amounts. So is the malted barley. Please excuse the nerdy overview of the table below! Eh, I am somewhat the Nerd! 😉

Head Sub Descriptors

Highland Park New Make

Highland Park 12 yo

Highland Park Fire Edition

A: Peaty 1. Burnt Ash

Peaty

Peaty

Peaty / m after taste

A: Peaty 2. Smokey Wood Smoke

n m

B: Grainy 1. Cereal Leathery

m

B: Grainy 1. Cereal Tobacco

n

m

B: Grainy 2. Malt Malted barley

n m

n

n m

B: Grainy 2. Malt Wort

n m

C: Grassy 2. Dried Hay

n

C: Grassy 2. Dried Straw

n

n

C: Grassy 2. Dried Mint

m

D: Fruity 3. Tropical Pear-drop

m

D: Fruity 3. Tropical Banana

n

D: Fruity 3. Tropical Pineapple

m

D: Fruity 3. Tropical Melon

m

D: Fruity 4. Citrus Orange

n

D: Fruity 4. Citrus Zest

n

D: Fruity 5. Berries Black Currant

n

E: Floral 1. Natural Heather

n

E: Floral 1. Natural Honey

n

F: Feints 2. Cheesy

n

F: Feints 3. Oily

n

G: Woody Extractive 5. Nutty Hazel nut

n

n

G: Woody Extractive 5. Nutty Almond/marzipan

n

n

G: Woody Extractive 6. Vanilla Chocolate

m

G: Woody Extractive 7. Spicy Clove

m

G: Woody Extractive 7. Spicy Ginger

m

G: Woody Extractive 7. Spicy Nutmeg

n

n

G: Woody Extractive 8. Caramel Coffee

m

G: Woody Extractive 8. Caramel Toast

n

G: Woody Extractive 8. Caramel Liquorice

n

G: Woody Extractive 9. Previous use Sherry

n m

G: Woody Extractive 9. Previous use Wine

n

L. Oily 2. Buttery Creamy

m

L. Oily 2. Buttery Butter scotch

m

L. Oily 4. Fat Fish oil

m

Mouth effect 1. Astringent Powdery

m

Nasal effect 2. Drying

n

What I noticed is this:

All three spirits are well rounded. What I mean with that is that non of the spirits burn your nose or level out your tongue. I nose and taste a lot of cask strength spirits or even 46 ABv spirits that slam dunk your nose and mouth into oblivion. These are much more subtle. Rounded. I am looking for the correct words. Cant find them.

What I am trying to say is that these are perfectly drinkable drams at the ABV they are presented at. Smooth. Goes down well indeed.

The New Make

 

Highland Park New Make
Highland Park New Make

The new make is very similar to other new makes I have been lucky enough to sample. My mind jumps to “banana”, “malted barley”, “wash” and “oily” almost immediately. Rubbing some in my palms gives me “peat” and “malt”.

Naturally the cask has not done anything yet, so all the wood extractive notes lack. The taste is malty, oily, astringent. I actually quite like this new make!

The 12 yo

 

Highland Park 12 YO
Highland Park 12 Year Old

The 12 yo is a perfectly drinkable enjoyable dram. Some “Sherry” notes, but not as overpowering as a Aberlour A’bunadh. The obvious sherry notes of raisins etc I can not spot as highly influencing. I could list the notes I wrote in the table, but I won’t. The 12 yo is a perfectly drinkable every day dram that I shall enjoy for many nights to come! This is obviously not meant to knock you of your socks and that is perfectly fine by me!

The “Fire Edition”

highland-park-fire-edition-cradle

The Fire Edition dram is smooth. I had expected to find a very spicy, peppery, alcohol burn like firery smoky attack from some Northern Mythical Brute.

It is not a brute.

Update: It is a beauty. What it needed is enough of it in the glass to nose it propperly. I checked my earlier notes and I stick by them. The only thing I would like to add is that this dram needs time in the glass. Then it deepens. I do get a hint of dries fruits, nut not as much as I read on other blogs and reviews. Could be my nose!

It is rather complex and smooth. In my first tasting of this I expected sherry notes, but being a port matured dram that would be silly of me. The pineapple note comes with age, as I learned from Adam Hannett’s Laddiemp video’s and I found some here. At 15 yo that seems to be what is consistent with Bruichladdich 16 yo versions. At the ABV this is bottled at it is a smooth highly drinkable dram. I still have 25 ml left and when I nose and taste it again I will see of I will add to my notes or not. I personally like a dram which has some nutmeg, some leather, some malt, some peat, some fruit, some nuts! The fire edition has that. All components are nicely balanced! With that I also mean that there is not one note that stands out well above the others.

I do not give point to drams. Never have, probably never will.

Would I spend 200 euro on a dram, any dram for that matter? No, I would not. I do not have the personal budget to be able to buy drams at that price level. That is true for all distilleries.  So I am glad I did got the chance to try such a dram! Highly appreciated. I probably have 2 good tastings left in the sample bottle which I shall enjoy indeed!

Will I spend the €34 again on a highland park 12 yo? That is what my boss calls a “no brainer”! Off course I will! I will enjoy the 12 yo for the full bottle and when empty, I will replace it! Why? Because I intend to enjoy myself!

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