Recommended as the choice for a 18 year old for both price and the quality for the money.
Notes: One of only two distilleries on the Orkney Islands ( the other being Scapa).Founded by the “whisky priest” Magnus Eunsson in 1798, (preacher by day, moonshiner by night – similar to Elijah Craig). Highland Park has a number of of unique points, first the peat used there is almost all heather and so contributes a good deal to the flavor and bouquet, further this peat is still curt by hand, and arduous process , usually not seen anymore. Another labor intensive process they still use is turning the malted barley by hand during the peating/smoking process .Further points are the use of sherry casks (costing ten times more than the industry dominant bourbon casks) and the the water which is fairly hard, giving it a nice mineral backbone.
Appearance: Pleasing amber color, nice edge line on the glass when you swirl it, smooth layer of whiskey on swirling eventually producing more legs than the 12 year old.
First Impression: Light peat smoke, dried fruit, flower sachet like notes, alkali and cocoa notes, heather, leather, sherry, malt/toffee, nuts, and oak.
Taste: Nice oily/slightly fatty feel to the malt. Medium-weight mouth feel (for a scotch) and heavier than a number of it’s 18year old cohorts.- Lean but full layers of heather,orange peels, leather, oak and spice, with a hint of sweetness. Finish is long, with some sweet notes, and lingering smoke at end
Drinks: Use a decent spirits glass (Riedel or better yet Celtic Malts Spirits Glass) glass if you are going to sip and savor it – with a small splash of (nonchlorinated) water if you like. While you could ,conceivably use it for cocktails ( it does work very well) at this price level I would suggest saving it and using the 12 year old for mixing.
Cigars: Yes, but something light – try a Natural Wrapper or Connecticut Shade Ashton maybe?
Bottle: Clear glass- shows whisky to good effect. Bottle is a slightly flattened oval flask shape with rounded shoulders and slight bulge to neck. Simple somehow eyecatching and muted at the same time paper labels .Black foil neck wrap with silver lettering (EST-1798) and cork closure finish the package.
Final Thoughts: More complex and balanced with a fair amount of different elements to keep it interesting. Recommended for someone who wants a very all things to all comers type of scotch – broad appeal and characteristics and doesn’t want to break the bank.
Recommended as a 18 year old (at age and price levels) that is easy to enjoy and a solid addition to ones bar.
Good site with fair amount of information. Well laid out and easy to navigate (unlike some other websites we have encountered recently). Just about everything you need to know including visiting and even how to charter a plane and tour of distillery!