We’re getting into richer winter whiskies now and this week’s featured brand is Highland Park Dark Origins (46.8% abv) all the way from Orkney. Highland Park is a favorite of mine, mainly as an 18 year old, but I tend to enjoy most of them. Fortunately, I had a sample to write my own tasting notes:
Appearance: Rich amber with copper highlights. Tears are very slow to develop.
Nose: Initially some sulphur, like a match just struck; honey, a hint of nuts and banana skins; a touch of menthol; a bit of warm fig and a wisp of peach; heather and some oak vanilla. With water there is more of the oak vanilla; dried sultanas and apricots, creaminess; a very rich nose. Then come spice, vanilla fudge and a hint of dates.
Palate: In the mouth this is quite full and rich. Slightly unctuous. On the tongue are smoke, warm honey, dried fruits – like a light fruit cake; heather, leather, oak tannins plus some cocoa powder and a slight resinous note.
Finish: Long. Smoky, with leather and heather and quite mouth drying but with a residual sweetness.
This expression is one of those that you need to pour, leave a little while, then try, then leave a little longer and try again a couple of times. Its aromas and flavors unfurl like a flower.
Highland Park is one of our oldest distilleries, founded in 1798 and is rich in historic tales of its whisky making, both legal and not. Its warmth and richness stem from a homeland on a wind-buffeted island and, in winter, frequently a stormy one where good whisky helps to warm the bones and the soul. In summer, it is light and gloriously scenic with long days and short nights. The Orkney islands are also places of much craftsmanship and artistic creativity as well as producing good food and ales - and not to mention thousands of years of history to explore.
This will be my last post for 2014 so A Merry Christmas and Happy and Prosperous New Year to all.
Until next time, happy dramming.