Why’d I write this review series? Cause I got High(land Park).
Top class reviews here peeps.
So jump back to before I was reviewing. Before I knew and was wrong about a tenth of everything I’ll learn and re-learn about whisky. I’m at the Scotch Whisky Experience, enjoying whisky, having a good time in Scotland for the first time. It comes a time when I’m sober enough to shop the gift shop.
I’m picking up things left and right, not really totally knowing what I’m doing, and drunk enough to have the confidence to dive in. My wife noticed Highland Park 30, a sample bottle, and picked some up for a friend of ours to have on his 30th birthday.
She asks if she should grab one for me. I say “Nah, I don’t really know much about whisky. I’ve bought enough.” Some of those samples were the first ones I ever reviewed. After that trip, I was sent a sample that would kick me into gear for actually reviewing.
Probably should have bought that sample of Highland Park 30, now that I think about it.
Originally re-released in 2013, newer releases have been lighter in abv. I couldn’t tell you if the one that I could have bought was one of the stronger ones from before 2013, or similar to this one, which was after 2013. What I can say is it was aged in refill Sherry casks. This was done (according to the Highland Park website) to avoid over oaking the whisky too much, or doing too much sherry if first-fill were used.
Can’t say I disagree with the logic. So let’s see what I missed all those years ago, shall we?
Price: $751 CAD at the LCBO
Colour: 10YR 5/8
Nose: Rum cake, apricot upside-down cake, waffles, buckwheat honey, grass fire
So my buddy hit 30 a few years back and had this dram out by a campfire. I enjoyed the nose quite a bit, however, it was a) his dram and b) there was a campfire, so I didn’t review it. Not to mention it wasn’t in a Glencairn. Bloody barbarian.
Having this now, I picked up those strong, molasses based caramels. Strong dark caramel mixed with fruit, cereal, and even some smoke work this into your head. This is made to sell itself after one pour to people with way, way more money than I have.
Taste: Orange spice cake, grape jelly, nougat, almond tart
Taste is less intense to the nose. Which I’m happy about because I couldn’t handle it. Lighter cake, more spice than smoke, and the richness are more of nougat, jelly, or almonds to balance it all out.
The lower abv. is hiding something though. I wait for it to be something “beyond” the balance. Which is silly, frankly, it’s well balanced and sweet and complex.
Finish: Nutmeg, apple cider, malt, pork belly, caramel, juniper
Sadly the step back from complexity from the nose to the taste continues with the taste to the finish. This is more of a pork meal that you made for the first time and maybe didn’t stir it right. Or follow the recipe right. Or write down the recipe correctly.
Spice, meaty, some fat, and some tart apple. I want more.
Conclusion: Solid dram overall. Frankly, the only complaint is the finish. The finish on a less expensive whisky or daily drinker would elevate them to special drams though, so I’m just jibber-jabbing.
The taste is light, though felt like something was missing. The nose is the key. The nose is the marketer of the mix. It stands up and sells the bottles. It’s made to be poured and then someone drops the money. Pure and simple.
Well, one regret is done. Let’s get to the others now, shall we? Where can I buy a Black Lotus for $350 in mint condition, just so I can sell it for a down payment on a house?
Scotch review #967, Island review #111, Whisky Network review #1524