Starting the year where we finished off in 2017, with an exquisite dram of Highland Park. If you were unaware, The Highland Park distillery steeped in history, stands on a hill overlooking Kirkwell, Orkney’s mail town – on an area of common land long known as the High Park of Rosebank. Established in 1798, of course as an illicit distillery, Highland Park describe themselves as the most Northern distillery in the world that above all creates some of the most taste bud tingling Scotch whisky. Their whisky is known for being rich with notes of honey, oranges, oak, with a slightly salty nature but most intriguingly, a touch of smoke/peat.
This edition is to acknowledge the Autumn/Winter months on the Isle of Orkney, with its counterpart, The Light, due for release in 2018 is of course to laud Spring and Summer. The inscription on the side of the casing reads:
“Names then gave they to noon and twilight. Morning they named. And the waning moon. Night and evening. The years to number.” – Voluspa, The Poetic Edda, Verse 6.
On the nose: is an intensive waft of sweet, rich mixed fruits (currants), ginger, marzipan and an ever-so-subtle waft of peat. These initial notes are followed by lemon zest, a nutty aroma, green herbs, mint, spices, cinnamon and cardamom. Rounding-off the nose are notes of dark chocolate, toffee, salted caramel, Christmas cake, tobacco and clementines. On the palate: there are flavours of sweet, stewed raisins, ginger, all-spice, vanilla and marzipan. These are followed by a rich dark chocolate ganache, pears, cardamom and cinnamon. Notes of old leather, roasted coffee, clementines and lemon rind start to emerge, with the palate completed by notes of ripe apples and green herbs. The finish: is long, smooth, sweet, with lingering currants and mint chocolate.
The verdict: I believe this is the first time we’ve ever posted tasted notes on one of Highland Parks limited releases. It is so well-balanced with the right amount of sweetness, spiciness, body and peat that has great depth. It is indeed a very unique dram from Highland Park and unlike anything I’ve ever tasted from them. With an ABV of only 52.9%, it’s not really a Scotch that requires any water, in my humble opinion but if required, then only add just a few drops. Also allowing it to breathe for 5 – 10 minutes, yields more notes too.
Highland Park The Dark 17 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is available online or in-store at the Whisky Shop, for approximately £190.
For more information on this limited release expression, visit the official Highland Park website.