Official bottlings from Highland Park usually carry a trademarked profile of heather peat, spice and sherry notes to some degree, depends on the exact mix of casks in the release. But when you go the indie and single cask route it’s a different game.
Take for example the new Highland Park 16 that G&M has bottled exclusively for The Whisky Exchange. A single cask bottling from a first fill American oak barrel with a lot of sweetness and not a single trace of sherry, delivering a whisky with a twist on the familiar Highland Park profile.
Highland Park 1999 16 Year Old Cask #4260 (56.6%, £79.95)
Nose: Fruity (mainly pears) and very creamy with sweet vanilla and honey. Slowly some hints of spices show up and there’s almost no peat here. I guess it’s subdued by active cask. Very rounded and solid nose. With a few drops of water we get fresh lemon and it’s spicier yet still very creamy and a lot of vanilla (almost lactic feeling).
Palate: Sweet peat, fruit and honey and creamy porridge. With water: more peat and a bit of ashes, bitterness of oak spices is introduced, creamy and sweet with sweet lemonade.
Finish: Short medium length with sweet honey, cereals porridge, traces of peat smoke and lemon freshness. With water: more peat and spicier.
Thoughts: Solid but unspectacular. It’s a robust whisky with a bit different Highland Park profile focusing on sweetness and creaminess. An easy going Highland Park whisky to enjoy.
(Official sample provided by The Whisky Exchange)