Score: 9.0 / 10
Distillery: Highland Park
Type: Highland Single Malt
I was scheduled to have a tonsillectomy, but it was cancelled for a second time. The first time they couldn’t get a COVID test done fast enough, the second time there was a power surge that knocked out a machine that delivers anesthesia to patients. I’m starting to think the universe doesn’t want me to get this surgery done? At any rate I reserved this bottle to be my first pour after recovery from the surgery, but since it was delayed, I figured why not crack it open early?
I am in several whisky groups on social media and this bottle popped up a few days ago. It’s a beautiful bottle that captured my attention and I have wanted to explore the Highland Park line for a while so I looked into it further. The poster found it in Costco in Carlsbad CA of all places. Well luckily I had family nearby and they were eager to pick a bottle up for me - special thanks to them!
It can be a bit confusing to some that this is a Highland Park 18yr, as that is already a brand. This however, is because they have purchased Highland Park after it was distilled and have aged it for some or all of the duration in their own barrels and bottled it themselves. They did not distill this whiskey though. Purchasing some of the best whisky brands, has allowed this maturation and bottling operation to add their own twists to already great products.
Here’s some details – this bottle was $159.99 at Costco. Outturn was 185 bottles and its bottled at 55.2%. I drank a neat heavy-handed pour out of a Glencairn glass. The scents and tasting notes are pretty spot on, but there is a lot more to discover.
Nose: Bursting upfront with a black licorice scent - fennel or star anise. Continuing to sniff leads to big notes of honey, pear, but most impressively fresh squeezed lemonade.
Palate: Juicy fresh pear, apple and cherry coat the mouth before exploding into a delicious mixture of vanilla, cinnamon and spice that tingles the tongue and cheeks. A final stage of the drinking experience showcases light smoke, ripe banana and fresh pipe tobacco.
Finish: Oak, dried cinnamon and citrus mix with hookah (lightly charred fruit tobacco) creating a long lingering tannic finish. After a few minutes ripe pear stands out on the tongue.
S+ Sensational - The Pinnacle (9.5+)
A - AXEceptional (astounding) (9-9.5)
B - bravo (step aBove average) (8-8.9)
C - competent (7-7.9)
D - disappointing (6-6.9)
F - flush it down the toilet (fail) (5.9 below)
Notes: Availability? Common. Purchased at Costco. You can also find Highland Park 18yr and 12yr pretty easily, but you'll have to pay a good amount for the 18yr expression.