Monday, February 15, 2010

Highland Park 18 year old

Highland Park 18 year old
Bottled by: Distillery
ABV: 43%
Region: Islands (Orkney)
Price: $100
Availability: Readily available in specialty shops

I first tried Highland Park 18 year old several years back when my scotch-drinking Uncle was in town for vacation. We picked up a bottle at Hi-Time and drank it next to the 12 year old. The differences are quite pronounced. The additional barrel age provides extra richness and brings forth more of the complexities from the sherry wood such as leather and nutty elements.

Today the bottles have changed to the "flask" shape shown in the Highland Park 12 year old post. I still have the bottle like the one shown above which has a nice impression of the Orkney islands molded on the bottom.

See the Highland Park 12 year old post for details of the distillery.

Tasting Notes
Medium-dark amber
Delicate peat, dried fruits, a floral element. More sherry and oak than the 12y. Even more complexity.
Medium-to full-bodied. As with the 12y, an incredible roundness and balance of flavors but richer and more elegant still. Retains the sweet honey, complex dried-fruit character of the 12y, with additional sherry and oak intensity. Some nuttiness. Leather. Vanilla. An endless cascade of incredibly well-balanced and integrated flavors.
Long, rich, round, oaky

Overall impression and notes: I've had this malt on many occasions now and I'm very comfortable saying that Highland Park 18 year old is the single best spirit of any kind ever to have passed my lips to-date. Period. Reserving the extra 3 points for a perfect score is really only wishful thinking on my part - some motivation to continue the search for something better, however unlikely.

Worth every penny at around $100, but an absolute steal at the $50-60 it was a few years ago...

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