The nose of this veteran is hugely enticing; rich, with old leather, soft spices, sultanas, figs, polished oak, and dunnage warehouses. Tangy orange develops in time. The orange carries over onto the palate—amazingly vibrant and youthful fruitiness—followed by soft toffee, woodsmoke, and a sprinkling of dusty oak. The finish is extraordinarily long, with licorice and fruit-laden old oak. A true classic! (77 bottles in U.S.)
Highland Park 1973 vintage 33 year old (Cask #13308), 54.4%
Single Malt Scotch | $280
Dark and decadent. Notes of old pot still rum, roasted nuts, chocolate fudge, burnished leather, Dundee cake, tobacco, and a hint of damp peat. When I drink this, I feel like I’m sitting in the study of a stately Scottish mansion contemplating a fine, aged Cuban cigar. Royalty in a glass. (Bottled for Binny’s Beverage Depot)
Introduced to the Highland Park portfolio in 1997. Gentle peat, soft toffee, floral notes, and honey on the beautifully fragrant nose. Superbly balanced on the velvety palate, with brittle toffee, stewed fruits, peat, honey, and a hint of coffee. Smoke and more toffee mingle in the long, elegant finish.
A marriage of two casks (refill hogsheads). Significantly darker in color than the 1968 vintage. Darker (and more serious) in personality, too. Red berries (strawberry, raspberry), rhubarb, plum, oak sap, vanilla bean, smoldering peat, coffee grounds, toasted almond, and dusty malt. The finish is long and contemplative, with notes of polished leather, juicy oak, and telicherry peppercorns. £3,750
Highland Park 34 year old 1971 vintage (Cask #8363), 53%
Single Malt Scotch | $325
Rummy molasses and toffee sweetness intertwine with roasted nuts and bright, juicy fruit. Suggestions of fig, lavender, leather, and tobacco throughout, with a hint of peat and polished oak on the finish. Not quite as refined as the Highland Park 18 year old, but it makes up for this with its dynamic personality. A delicious ultra-mature, sherry cask-aged whisky. (A Binny’s Beverage Depot exclusive.)
This limited edition bottling consists of a marriage of both European and American oak. Still lively for its age, and beautifully balanced. Bountiful golden fruit (sultana, pineapple upside down cake, tangerine, overripe nectarine) balanced by soothing, creamy vanilla. A peppering of dried spice, chamomile tea, toasted oak, cigar box, and subtle smoke round out the palate. Soft and seductive. (Not available in the U.S.) £2,250
Highland Park 1977 vintage 29 year old (Cask #7957), 48.5%
Single Malt Scotch | $300
A delicious, well-balanced, ultra-matured expression of Highland Park. Toffee apples, molasses, and vanilla fudge provide a sweet foundation, with evolving notes of dark chocolate, dry spicy oak, tobacco, subtle smoke, and lingering brine on the finish. Nicely done. (Bottled for Old Oaks Cigar & Wine Company)
Highland Park 32 year old 1973 Vintage (Cask #8375), 41.3%
Single Malt Scotch | $350
An essay in elegance. Silky and soft in texture, and very clean. Notes of peaches and cream, vanilla wafer, soft honey and fruit gum drops. Subtler notes of tropical fruit (pineapple, lemon, coconut), demerara sugar, heather, and anise. Polished oak adds structure and contrast, with a very elegant finish. Hard to believe this whisky is 32 years old. It's lighter and more elegant than the equally splendid Highland Park 30 year old, which I rated a 94 in the last issue. (Bottled exclusively for Park Avenue Liquors.)
An exemplary Highland Park. There's certainly plenty of sherry influence in this whisky and it is complementary. (About 2/3 of the whisky was aged on sherry casks, and a lot of these casks were second fill.) The whisky enjoys a delicious foundation of toffee, fruit (lemon, plum, blueberries) and dark chocolate. It continues to develop and evolve on the palate, with emerging notes of heather, nougat, lavender, delicate peat and complex dried spice (especially cinnamon and nutmeg) to balance the sweeter notes. The extra alcohol is also a bonus, providing a drying balance to the whisky's sweetness. Whiskies like this one remind me why I fell in love with whisky in the first place.
A marriage of eight casks (seven hogsheads, one sherry butt). A whisky in excellent shape for its age. Very clean and bright on the palate, with no excessive oak. Notes of lemon tart, clementine, plum, honeyed vanilla, and polished oak, peppered with clove, soft mint, marshmallow, and subtle toasted coconut. Clinging, mouth-coating finish. £2,250
The good news: This is one of the best Highland Park whiskies I have ever tasted. The bad news: it’s the new release for Travel Retail (formerly Duty Free). It’s lush, well-balanced, and very complex. Well-defined notes of toffee, candied fruit, and roasted nuts are accentuated by background honey, chocolate mousse, and smoke. Here’s the icing on the cake: it’s bottled at 47.5%, which really allows the flavors to shine. If you’re going overseas, consider tracking down a bottle.
Antique copper color, with some streaks of gold. A complex array of dried fruit on the nose, peppered with dried spice, orange marmalade, dark chocolate, and wood shavings. On the palate, the immediate impact is once again marmalade, followed briefly by bramble before drier notes of dark chocolate, wood shavings, anise, and subtle smoke emerge. Dry and spicy on the finish, but never austere. A delicious, contemplative 40 year old Highland Park that has aged gracefully.
This is a permanent addition to the range. Out of curiosity, I tasted it next to the other great Highland Parks (the 30 year old and several very good single cask bottlings over 30 years old). This whisky is in the same league as the others. Its only down side is that it’s a lot more expensive than the others.
Highland Park 1983 vintage 23 year old (Cask #691), 59.8%
Single Malt Scotch | $150
Very sophisticated and subtly complex. Perhaps the lightest-colored of the bunch. Fresh, appetizing brine and spice (cinnamon, vanilla, white pepper, and clove) on a bed of soft honey and creamy vanilla, with just a hint of fruit. The notes are bright, clean, and tight. Spicy, briny finish. A beautifully delicate Highland Park. (Bottled for Green’s)
One of two recent vintage releases, this 1971 example has been matured in seventeen Spanish oak casks, that yielded a total of 657 bottles. Sweet on the nose, with maple syrup, almonds, and sherry. Soft and insinuating. Becoming progressively smokier. Bold fruit and peat notes on the palate, plus oak, cloves, and dark chocolate notes. Peppery in the long finish, with subtle tannins and persistent citrus fruits.
Matured exclusively in sherry-seasoned first-fill European oak casks and bottled at cask strength. The nose yields figs, soft smoke, cinnamon, sugarcane, and rich fruitcake. The palate is succulent and confident, with creamy sweet sherry, dried fruits, coffee, and woodsmoke. Long and drying in the finish, with flecks of char. Highland Park doing what it does best. (28,000 bottles)
Highland Park 18 year old Viking Pride (2019 Batch), 43%
Single Malt Scotch | $155
Christmas warmth in a glass, its maturity showing in complex aromas of baked apple, poached pear, Christmas cake, cinnamon, gingerbread, and cloves, enlivened by a tropical note of lime and a hint of peat. More baking spices on a rich palate that offers milk chocolate, melted caramel, and strawberry jam, with water bringing out notes of candied fruit, chocolate, and more light peat. Nimble, spiced, and replete with flavors to treasure.
Highland Park Cask Strength (Release No. 1), 63.3%
Single Malt Scotch | $90
This first cask-strength expression in Highland Park’s core range was matured predominantly in sherry-seasoned American oak. Honey, bonfire smoke, orange peel, and a suggestion of treacle on the nose. Sweet and smoky on the palate, with toffee and orchard fruits turning more citric in time. The finish yields sweet spices, more honey, dark chocolate, black pepper, and bonfire embers. Classic Highland Park—turned up to 11! Editors' Choice
A whiff of peat and a maritime breeze of salt air, seashells, and beach bonfire embers, drifting into tropical notes of lime and pineapple, as well as baked apples. Sweetness on the palate, with a dash of peat atop vanilla cream, graham cracker, milk chocolate, zesty lime, and espresso beans. Water brings out fruit notes of melon, strawberries, and red apples, and the finish settles things with a back note of cocoa and a bang of winter spice. (Editors' Choice)