Highland Park 18 Year Old

Spirit Name:
Spirit Type:

Highland Park 18 Year Old
Single malt whisky

Score:
93/100
3, medal, silver icon

ABV:
43% 
Region:
Islands (Orkney), Scotland 
Body:
Medium-full 
Intensity:
Medium-high 
Texture:
Medium-oily 
Balance:
Heavenly  
Best served:
Neat 
Theme(s):
Floral, salted caramel, praline, orchard, bitter oak, tart berries, cocoa  
In a nutshell:
The fragrance of a floral bouquet lifts up from the glass as it weaves around orchard fruits and burnt praline layered with orange peel and marmalade with notes of licorice. On the palate dried fruits and salted caramel with licorice and tart berries moderate the strike of bitter and spicy oak and cocoa. The finish is spicy, with the bite of spice and peppercorn. 
Likes:
Complex and thoroughly enjoyable  
Dislikes:
Slight smell of alcohol  
Price:
$157 
I blind tasted this whisky, not knowing its contents. To be honest, on taking my first sip I was disappointed… but after letting this whisky rest for a minute or so the burst of flavours came like a hoard of Vikings!
Thinking about cold places, Highland Park is the most northern distillery in Scotland and it is located on the Isle of Orkney. I get cold just thinking about it; an excuse to have yet another dram of this irresistible Highland Park 18 Year Old.
Nose
As I swirl this whisky, its age is noticeable. It has a lovely deep amber colour and its oily texture clings to the glass. Its nose is soft and aromatic, releasing wood and the essence of dried orange peel and marmalade with some nutmeg and star anise. The slightest smell of alcohol lingers in the background with the lovely aroma of peaches and apricots in an almost floral bouquet that radiates the perfume of flowers and praline. With water it releases a light lemon scent… wait, here come the Vikings! An influx of different aromas floods in: wood, tobacco, black tea leaves, cigars, licorice, twigs, dried oregano, salt, sea breeze, toffee, meringue, Shiraz, port, raisins, prunes… INCREDIBLE!!!  The more this dram rests, the better it gets.
Taste 
An onslaught of bitterness soon follows the first sip, with lots of wood and the gentle radiating heat of spices that hover over a foundation of dried citrus fruits. Almost like a light house this whiksy delivers flashes of sweetness that disappear in a fierce storm of bitter and sour only to re-emerge with a flicker then a beaming strike! There is something very distinctive about the Highland Park 18 Year Old; a gooey licorice that is layered over tart berries and an earthy saltiness that develops into salted caramel after an initial thump of spicy oak.
Oh so smooooooth, with a fabulous kick when it goes down. Dark chocolate and cocoa now present themselves, some tea leaves again…

With a thick oily texture this whisky delivers an abundance of different flavours.

Finish 
This whisky has a powerful finish that blasts with flavour then dissipates to leave a glowing heat. No burn or harshness, just the gentle stroke of power. The spicy and bitter oak lingers on the base of the tongue, as the bite of anise seed delivers earthy lush green with some mild – though not sweet – licorice.  Just as the experience draws to a close, the piercing jab of a green peppercorn strikes.
Overall 
Delicious! This whisky somehow gracefully and gently delivers a powerful charge of flavours that almost left me confused how something so strong can be so gentle… I’ll have to keep sampling to sort this vexing question out.This whisky may be overpowering for newcomers to whisky, but I think it is sensational whisky!


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