Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Highland Park Valkyrie and friends

So relaxing to taste a blended single malt, an OB aimed at a profile!  Of course I love the single caskers but… nice to be on the receiving end of Max McFarlane’s lifetime of blending skills for a change.

Then a couple of oddities to balance it back out, both Cadenhead’s HPs that you can’t buy.  The first from the warehouse tour at the festival, the second from the Cadenhead’s cage in the Edinburgh shop.

Highland Park Valkyrie, 45.9% A+

highland-park-valkyrie-whiskyNose - Rich, quite dark, quite red-wine cask, good waxes. It's been so long since I had an official HP I couldn't remember the profile. I get the window putty I'm used to in mature refill bourbon indies, but there's some good wine and sherry casking in here spicing things up too. It's all balanced quite nicely with cakey, wood vanilla.

Body - Bitter cigarette tar, sweet cigar tobacco, fizzing sweetness, more sherry and a bright, young bourbon cask. Chewy and mouthfilling, lemon sherbets and earth.

Finish - Medium short but reasonably flawless, ends in young, bitter peat but none the worse for it.

A tasty HP in the classic style, young NAS stuff but I wouldn't judge it any differently if it had 3 years old written on the label.

Highland Park 1988, 29 years old, Cadenhead's Warehouse Tour, 51.5% A⊕

IMG_2603Nose - Deep but gentle, fruit and putty. Freshly squeezed orange juice, ozone and hand soap, freshly laundered towels. Very clean with just a hint of peat. It's the putty and wax that makes HP so special though, seasoned with peat and full of fruit.

Body - Pritt stick, big old Scotch, then a spike of pepper and peat and then fence panels. And bunsen burners.

Finish - Oranges, Sichuan peppercorns, iron filings and toffee pennies. Very tannic at the end, bitter peat.

The usual rollercoaster of flavours from an old Highland Park, and another fantastic cask here. This is a fascinating whisky, one to take time over. It's a little too heavily peated in the finish but the nose is joyful.

Highland Park 22 years old, Cadenhead's Manager's Cask (Edinburgh cage sample), sherry butt, 59.6% A+

Thanks to whisky rover for splitting his bottle of this.

HPCageNose - Ha… this is so orangey I'm thinking it's virgin oak! Maybe it's a recharred sherry butt. It's really fresh and zesty, but very spirity and toppy, makes me think of wasabi on sushi rice. Much better with water, some of that wax I was expecting, more fruit. Could go either way.

Body - What a strange HP, it's hot and woody and quite American. Fried panko, toast and honey. Again, better with water, there's a little petrol and a slightly otherworldly sweetness and fruit to it.

Finish - Long, hot and back with the orange zest, very drying and a lick of sulphur. The finish really makes you come back for more.

A weird nose, a weak delivery and a very compelling finish. Strange stuff, not that it matters, who knows what happened to the rest of this cask! I probably ended up loving it after it took a trip through a red wine cask. A good, fun oddity for 20cl.

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