Highland Park laid down in 2001 for 16 years. The cask is listed as refill ex-oloroso, but whether this is full term of a finish is unclear – I am suspecting of the latter. Lightly peated style.
Nose: A Sunday lunch of a nose – beef joint, reduced stock and a scattering of leafy greens and spring onions. Sweetness comes wild honey and golden syrup (almost treacle, but not quite). Reduction unleashes some earthiness and trademark HP smoke – it’s ever slight, but plays nicely with an array of hillside florals.
Taste: Much more potent and also much sweeter. Ash and chalk dust are joined by a light pervading floral smoke – wispy and delicate and somewhat hiding behind most coal-led flavours. The development introduces growing sweetness – spun sugar, dusted berries and heavily reduced pan sugars. The introduction of water reduces some of the more openly saccharine flavours, focussing on underlying malt barley.
Finish: Medium to long, with tangy sugared sweetness and flecks of burnt paper.
The sweetness of sherry has rather nuked the underlying Highland Park spirit here. It’s still a tasty drop, but I’d rather my sugars were a little more integrated. God knows where celebrities and yurts come in to it.