May 13th, 2011 by Darin
The Highland Park 18-year is among the darker whiskies I’ve seen. Typically, Highland malts tend toward very bright, if noticeably reddish, hues; the Highland Park, however, is unusually brown, dark, and burnished–it wears its Highland red in its quite-robust shadows.
The nose is only mildly phenolic, and its noticeably applish, subtly sweet-pear aromas offer a very smooth aromatic setup for this whisky’s delicate brandy-esque perfume. The Highland Park’s bouquet is, overall, quite smooth and very inviting.
My dram was surprisingly sweet and warm—its alcohol gently active on the tongue. It tastes most readily—and quite singly—of caramel. Without any fancy complications, this whisky moves right into its finish: unassuming, moderately paced between, say, the severity of the Dalwhinnie and the sluggishness of the Springbank. The primary, caramelized taste decays in shelves of floral candy: lavender, hazelnut.
The Highland Park does not package a lingering aftertaste; it is simply confidently warm—the obviously mature farewell singular to an 18-year malt.
On a scale of 1-5, I rate the Highland Park 18-year a 5.
Fun facts about Highland Park: (from the Collins Pocket Whisky Reference)
“Highland Park’s origins are linked with an illegal bothy which previously occupied the site. Its owner was one of whisky’s most colourful characters, Magnus Eunson. A United Presbyterian church elder by day and smuggler by night, his piety did not prevent his using the church pulpit as a handy hiding place for his illicit distillations” (147).