What have I learned from all the Highland Park Whisky that I was able to taste this year? I set out this year to compare a new make spirit with other spirits made by the same distillery. So I looked and found that Highland Park used to sell New Make in 350 ml bottles.

I could not find any online, but luckily Steve Prentice of somersetwhisky.com had a bottle and I bought it from him. Thank you again Steve! During the year I was able to buy a bottle of Highland Park 12. I asked Highland People some questions and they gave really insightful information regarding the wood policy used for highland park spirits.  The highland 12 blog is here.

Question:

I’m trying to find out the influences of oak wood for a blog I’m writing. I’m looking for one spirit (product of one manufacturer) in new make form, sherry cask American oak matured, ex bourbon cask matured and preferably also new American oak matured. Goal is to see how one spirit is affected by these sources of American oak. I know you sell new make. Which other drams would be useful for this small comparison of mine coming from your line?

Answer:

“We use 3 cask types to mature our whiskies – European Oak Ex Sherry Casks, American Oak Ex Sherry Casks and American Oak Ex Bourbon Casks. A combination of casks are used to create most of our whiskies but here’s a guide to the predominant cask type for our core domestic and Global Travel Retail expressions:
 
12YO – European Sherry
Dark Origins – European Sherry
18YO – European Sherry
 Svein – American Sherry
Einar – American Sherry
Harald – Balance of American and European Sherry
Sigurd – European Sherry
 
None of our core expressions are Bourbon cask driven although ICE is”

Then a trainee at the representatives of Highland Park sent me a sample of the Highland Park Fire Edition. I compered it to the new make and the 12 in this blog.

Later in the year I got a sample of the Highland Park Magnus and a sample of the Highland Park Full Volume.

What I learned from these drams is that the same New Make spirit, put into different type of barrels, aged for different timespans, will result in totally different drams. The diversification is so large that getting a dram to taste the same year after year is as impressive a task as creating a fine new dram from almost scratch. In the blogs I mentioned in the text above there is more information about what I learned and I invite myself to reread what I learned by clicking the links.

To give an overview of how different Highland Park drams can be I put an table below with notes. n is for nose, m is for mouth.

I did not add the Magnus to the overview since I will not be able to get the Magnus here in the Netherlands. I did write notes on it, and those can be read in the blog about it.

Sub Descriptors

Highland Park New Make

Highland Park
12 yo

Highland Park
Fire Edition

Highland Park
Full Volume

1. Burnt Ash

Peaty

Peaty

Peayy / m after taste

2. Smokey Wood Smoke

n m

2. Smokey Kippery

n

1. Cereal Leathery

m

1. Cereal Tobacco

n

m

2. Malt Malted barley

n m

n

n m

n

2. Malt Wort

n m

1. Fresh Green Apple
1. Fresh Green Banana

n

2. Dried Hay

n

2. Dried Straw

n

n

2. Dried Mint

m

3. Tropical Pear-drop

m

3. Tropical Banana

n

3. Tropical Pineapple

m

3. Tropical Melon

m

4. Citrus Orange

n

4. Citrus Grapefruit

n

4. Citrus Zest

n

n

5. Berries Black Currant

n

1. Natural Violet

n

1. Natural Heather

n

1. Natural Honey

n

2. Artificial Scented

n

2. Cheesy

n

3. Oily

n

5. Nutty Hazel nut

n

n

5. Nutty Almond/marzipan

n

n

6. Vanilla Chocolate

m

m

7. Spicy Clove

m

m

7. Spicy Cinnamon

m

7. Spicy Ginger

m

7. Spicy Nutmeg

n

n

8. Caramel Coffee

m

8. Caramel Toast

n

8. Caramel Liquorice

n

9. Previous use Sherry

n m

M dry

9. Previous use Wine

n

1. Cardboard Papery

m

3. Vegetable Cooked

n

1. Soapy Detergent

n

2. Buttery Creamy

m

2. Buttery Butter scotch

m

4. Fat Fish oil

m

3. Sour

n

1. Astringent Drying

m

1. Astringent Powdery

m

m

3. Warming Fiery

m

2. Drying

n

 

 

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