After the pretty good Laphroaig Brodir Batch 001, let’s go for a review of another whisky in port casks – Highland Park Fire Edition.
It’s the first Highland Park in Port casks that I have ever encountered so I went ahead and purchased myself a sample because I’m a whisky geek and it interests me to see what Highland Park in Port will smell and taste like because I wouldn’t shell out such a big sum of money on a whisky with one big glaring question: What are those Refill Port-Seasoned Casks that the whisky matured in them (and quite a lot of those to produce 28000 bottles)?
So what impact those casks had on the whisky?
Nose: Hmm, the initial sniff isn’t promising, huge notes of youth, almost new make-y. Is it 15 yo? Really? Must be the cask impact and the strong vanilla note that distorts it. After a while it recedes enough to reveal red fruit leaning to the sour side, redcurrants and a bit of strawberries, also a bit of citrus , heather honey and vanilla and some microscopic peat smoke traces. Very light and very un-Highland Park like and I didn’t like it at all.
Palate: A bit better on the deliver, sour sweet red fruits, noticeable yet gentle peak smoke, slight oak wood bitterness, honey, vanilla and light dried fruit.
Finish: Short medium, sour sweet dried red fruits and redcurrants, gentle sweet peat, vanilla and oak wood spices.
Thoughts: Wow, what a letdown. Seriously, this is a HUGE disappointment and a far cry from what I expect from a Highland Park whisky. I’m totally surprised they released it that way and my best hunch (and wishful thinking) is that the construction (and completing) of this duology (along with ICE) was a decision made by the marketing department in Edrington group and not by the production side. This Fire is too light, a fire more like a red tea candle flame and not a proper bonfire, too fresh (and young) for its age (with the treated casks to blame I supposed). It’s just so different from the Highland Park distillery DNA we expect to meet in their whiskies. Couple this with the atrocious VFM (high price, young age) and the inevitable bottom line that it’s a whisky to skip. Come on guys, you can do much better!