Highland Park Wings of the Eagle 16 Year Old (Travel Retail) Review

We’re seeing an improvement trend within the new Highland Park Travel Retail series with Loyality of the Wolf 14 Year Old on the cusp of being real good whisky. Will the next whisky in the series, Highland Park Wings of the Eagle 16 Year Old continue this thread?

Highland Park Wings of the Eagle is 16 Year Old, fully matured in sherry casks (both American and European oak) and bottled at a very respectable ABV of 44.5%. Sounds promising but does it deliver?

Highland Park Wings of the Eagle 16 Year Old (44.5%,€84.90)

Nose: Hello sweetie! This nose is rich and brimming full of sherry notes. Dried red fruit and berries, sweet earthy peat and after a minute or two there’s dark chocolate, espresso, nutmeg and a dash of grounded cinnamon. Well balanced and rich. Continue reading

Advertisements

Highland Park Loyality of the Wolf 14 Year Old (Travel Retail) Review

After checking out the entry level Spirit of the Bear and getting disappointed from it due to the thinness and watery feeling, we’re moving up to the next level with Loyality of the Wolf which thankfully:

  1. Carries an age statement – Distilleries shouldn’t be afraid to expose ages for whiskies with young casks in the mix – Be transparent! Even if there’s a 6 Year Old whisky inside!
  2. Was bottled at a higher ABV of 42.3% which hopefully will provide more substance.

Highland Park Loyality of the Wolf 14 Year Old (42.3%, 1L, 64.90)

Nose: More sherry casks in the mix and therefor it’s a bit more sherried here with more dried fruit, milk chocolate, cinnamon, very clean and somewhat thin (chill filtered?), subtle vanilla. After a few minutes there are plums and sultanas compote, also soursweet fruitiness and canned pineapple. All in all not too bad! Continue reading

Highland Park Spirit of the Bear (Travel Retail) Review

Two months ago Highland Park Distillery has launched a new series for the Travel Retail market and this time it’s not Viking or Norse mythology themed, or at least not directly. This time the theme is focused on animals with strong connections to the Norse and Viking mythology.

This new series which has three new whiskies and one special edition of an existing and familiar expression, now replaces the Warriors series that dominated the Travel Retail market for the last few years.

The new series has those four releases:

  • Spirit of the Bear – basic entry level whisky without an age statement
  • Loyality of the Wolf 14 Year Old
  • Wings of the Eagle 16 Year Old
  • Highland Park 18 Year Old Travel Edition at 46%

Let’s start with the basic one: Spirit of the Bear. It’s bottled at 40% and therefor I presume it’s chill filtered but it’s all natural color so at least that!

Highland Park Spirit of the Bear (40%, 1L, £44/€49.90)

Nose: A very sweet nose, vanilla, malt, subtle smoke, after a minute in the glass it develops some dried fruits, caramel, nutmeg, sweet sour bright cherries, more vanilla, oak spice. Feels a bit thin. Continue reading

Tobermory 2005 12 Year Old Fino Cask Finish Review

The last limited edition in Distll Group’s 2018 collection is the Tobermory 12 Year Old that was finished in Fino Sherry Casks.

The Tobermory whisky was matured in standard ex-bourbon casks for 10 years, before being finished for 2 years in Fino Sherry Casks. Total of 1,710 bottles were made.

Tobermory 2005 12 Year Old Fino Cask Finish (55.1%, £99.95)

Nose: The Fino cask speaks out loud here with sour fruits, citrus and mandarins, cherries and nuts. Getting spicier and coastal after a few minutes with brine, sea breeze and minerals, subtle sweet wine. After a few minutes also honey, fresh cut oak spice, malt, pickled cucumbers juice (a bit and in a good way) and more nuts. Continue reading

Ledaig 1998 19 Year Old Oloroso Finish & Ledaig 1998 19 Year Old PX Finish Review

Today we focus on the Ledaig limited editions releases for 2018. Distell did us a favor and released two Ledaigs from the same vintage and same age statement and you can understand why the first thing that came up in my mind was: “Yay, a comparison review!”. Surely it bounds to be more interesting than two separate reviews.

First one up is the Ledaig 1998 19 Year Old finished in Oloroso sherry casks. Although I’m not sure it’s legal to call it a finish as it was matured for barely 6 years in Bourbon casks before being finished in Oloroso sherry casks for about 14 years. Yeah, 6 Years Vs 14 Years. It was bottled at the standard Distell ABV of 46.3% instead of cask strength) and 2,400 bottles should be released later this month.

Ledaig 1998 19 Year Old Oloroso Finish (46,3%, RRP £130)

Nose: Fungal, sour berries, sweet cherries, lactic, seaside breeze, sweet peat smoke, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Palate: Very lactic, then comes the sour sweet fruitiness, cherries flavored hard candies, I don’t think it’s a good combo, sweet peat, subtle smoke, salt, honey.

Finish: Medium length, full of sour sweet dried red berries, hard candies, sweet smoke, salty and lactic.

 

 

 

I can’t say this Oloroso finish was up my alley. Let’s check the other Ledaig. The second one is the Ledaig 1998 19 Year Old finished in PX sherry casks. This time it’s a more traditional finish with 2 years finish maturation in fresh (1st fill) PX casks

Ledaig 1998 19 Year Old PX Finish (55.7%, £149.95/€154,99)

Nose: Far less lactic but still has some, but it’s manageable. But on the good hard it’s more smoky, with sweet dried fruit below the surface  getting stronger the more time elapses.

Palate: Sweet dried fruit, also some soursweet hard candies, smoky, glazed BBQ meat, pure meat/goose fat, sweet peat and slightly more drying.

Finish: Long length, drying, lingering sweet dried fruit and BBQ meat, salt and see breeze.

 

 

Thoughts: The Oloroso started on the wrong foot, recovered a bit with time but still it’s a very underwhelming whisky. The PX finish was very good and far better than the sherry counterpart. both were somewhat lactic, but the PX carried more smoke, more coastal-ness and better fruitiness, meshed together to create a truly good and unique Ledaig.

Deanston 2008 Brandy Cask Finish Review

Back to reviewing the new limited editions for 2018 from Distell distilleries and after reviewing earlier today the Deanston limited edition for 2017, we’ll now focus on the 2018 edition, the Deanston 2008 Brandy Cask Finish.

Like its predecessor, it’s a 2008 vintage matured for almost 8 years in ex-bourbon casks and then trasferred to Brandy casks for two years before being bottled at 56.4%. No official bottles count was released but availability seems somewhat limited comparing to the Bordeaux from 2017.

Deanston 2008 Brandy Cask Finish (56.4%, £54.95/€66,99)

Nose: Oh this is a sweet one. The Brandy impact is there with sweet white wine, grapes, nuts and sultanas. subtle pepper, vanilla, bread-y and creamy. With a few drops of water it’s spicier and the bread-y note turns to multi-cereals health bread. Continue reading

Deanston 2008 Bordeaux Red Wine Cask Matured Review

Taking a very short breather from Distell limited releases 2018 collection because the next review should be the Deanston 2008 Brandy Cask Finish but it seems like I forgot to publish my review for the 2017 limited release, and since they are both 2008 vintage, why not start with the Bordeaux from 2017 and then we can resume the regular programming and the Brandy from 2018?

As I said, the 2017 limited edition for Deanson was a 2008 vintage that was fully matured in Bordeaux red wine casks. It was quite a big release with 3,240 bottled at 58.7% and it’s still widely available in shops across Europe.

Personally I had hard times to like this whisky on my first tasting but thankfully I re-tasted it a few (and then a few more) weeks later and the air exposure did wonders to this whisky.

Deanston 2008 Bordeaux Red Wine Cask Matured (58.7%, £55/€44.95)

Nose: Malty, gentle red wine with soft tannins lurking behind. wood spices, It’s kind of muted and restrained at first tasting but after a while there’s some leather, spicy wine. Takes a while to settle down and upon returning to it few weeks later it improved significantly with baking spices, subtle sweet and rich red wine, dried raspberries and nuttiness.

Continue reading