I’ve previously dismissed Highland Park as overpriced and marketing led. Not that marketing is a bad thing of course, but the ornate wooden cases (while cool) made me think the liquid was overrated. I was wrong. Sadly, it’s too late, none of this glorious liquid is still available.
Massive thanks to Johnnie Stumbler for this flight. They are mostly tiny remnants of tweet tastings I didn’t manage to score – so lots of nosing and very little drinking (perfect for a Monday night!).
Highland Park Loki, 15 year old, 48.7% A⊕+
Nose - Beautifully darkly waxed stewed fruits. Apple, quince, raisins, Demerara sugar and butter. And floor wax. I’m trying to work out exactly where this library is, I think it might be a university library - newly opened and full of new blond bookcases and fresh carpets. I love this nose. Why do they hide it underneath such an ostentatious wooden package? I might have bought this if I’d known!
Body - Pepper, light smoke, a little wet cardboard, more stewed orchard fruit and some light, elegant wood.
Finish - Quite long, milk chocolate, then white chocolate and fading apples. Really rather lovely. A touch of whisky soaked raisin, and a whisper of black pepper right at the end. This is the one I want.
Highland Park Freya, 15 year old, 51.2% A⊕
Nose - Oh man - elegant, rich, buttery fruit - pears and oranges. Very fresh, very juicy and backed by chocolatey, waxed wood. Behind this, a hint of red chilli and floral perfume. Wonderful. Makes me realise why people get so hooked on HP.
Body - Milk chocolate, spiced, more red chilli, a little cardboard and some pear.
Finish - Long, sappy, well balanced, quite smooth in the end. Very good.
Highland Park Thor, 16 year old, 52.1% A⊕
Nose - More polished woods plus ripe black cherries. Really ripe, beautifully balanced clean woods (new pine furniture, cut oak cask and polished walnut) and fruits (mango, cherry, apples) and a faint chocolate note again. A hint of strawberry ice cream.
Body - Darker, spicier and bolder. Chilli and pepper on top of the waxed fruits.
Finish - A bit shorter than the others, but a lovely stewed fruit backing. Finishes on fruit and nut chocolate bar. Delicious, but a little less complexity and integration than the others.
Highland Park 30 year old, 48.1% A⊕+
Nose - Intense, dark fruit and marker pens, fountain pen ink. National trust levels of waxed 4-poster beds, and a quick stroll through the floral gardens. Almost wine-like with the floral notes, and stunning integration with the the dark but tropical fruit and waxed woods. A faint hint of petrol, again the red chilli note (fresh and freshly cut). Intense, bright and voluptuous.
Body - Smooth, old wood, sandalwood, a little licked joss stick. Intense, bright tropical fruits. Yet, very dry, a little pepper. Elegant and classical, very masculine after that nose.
Finish - Long, oily, drying wood and chocolate. A little pepper develops. Tropical burps. I love it.