Thanks to my buddy Foster for pouring me this dram… I think.
A few centuries ago, one Magnus Eunson, a butcher and church officer, decided he would start running an illicit still and become a bootlegger. He worked out of High Park in Kirkwall, Orkney. This would eventually all become Highland Park.
Thus in order to celebrate Magnus’ choice of work, Highland Park released Highland Park Magnus, a lightly peated whisky aged in American Sherry oak casks. Simple idea, simple background, nice looking black bottle, right?
I like peat, and I’ve liked my fair share of Highland Park, either from original distillery bottlings or independent bottlings. I like various levels of peat, and I enjoy sherried whiskies.
Based on all of these things, I should be biassed towards enjoying this whisky. The only minus would be the low alcohol content, as they went for the bare minimum needed to still be called a whisky. Granted they also named it after someone who broke the law in order to make money, so perhaps that’s just on brand.
Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: $66 CAD
Cask Type: American sherry oak
Colour: 5Y 8/6
Nose; Cream soda, pineapple, brine, pine gum
Fruity sweet, some tropical notes, some typical Highland Park salt water to balance it, and… weird tree sap smell? Best I can describe. This took quite a bit to pull out, but it’s nice enough. Lighter, nothing too peated, sweet. Okay Magnus, so far so good.
Taste: Cream, char, fake butter
Wow, that’s not tasty. Watery, barely any flavour, mostly just tastes of fat and char.
How has this been fully sherry matured? Maybe the bottle is off? Wow, not good.
Finish: Brine, pepper, raisin
Salt, heat, and a sad bit of fruit. Leaves as quickly as an introvert walking into a Scientology centre by mistake.
Conclusion: If this is how you treat the founder of Highland Park, I’d hate to see what you’d say about someone who hurt the company. Was this made close to how the original way it was made? With little time, for the purpose of making the only money one needs while being a butcher and church officer?
The peat is so underwhelming, The flavour is watery. I’ve seen people say this should be an entry to either peat or to Highland Park, and I can’t disagree more. This is not good, it’s not worth it, and it’s bland. I literally would drink any other Highland Park I’ve ever had then this. I wouldn’t serve this to anyone I wanted to enjoy the brand, ever.
Scotch review #1585, Island review #173, Whisky Network review #2311