Saturday, October 11, 2014

Highland Park 21 Year Old

I picked up this Highland Park 21 for around $100 AUD - about a third of the original asking price for it here in Oz - after an extremely welcome tip-off on Twitter. I'm assuming this is the later, non-Duty Free, release of this particular HP OB.

I was extremely curious as to the provenance of such a bottle - a long time in a well heated shipping container perhaps? - so I cracked it almost immediately. Cracked - or crumbled - proved to be a fairly apt description as this is exactly what the cork (damn you cork!) did upon (almost) opening. The plot thickens...

Highland Park 21 Year Old 47.5%

Nose: Wood, varnish, sherry, smoke and spices. Over ripe oranges. Much later, fresh stone fruit arrives as well. Water brings out this fresh fruit a little too.

Palate: Varnish, smoke, dried fruit and sherry spices - cloves, oranges. After a while some sweeter, lighter fruit emerges underneath too.
Water freshens things up, as the fruit brightens and the spicy texture fans out and grips. Be careful though, it can't take too much before losing both texture and intensity of flavour.

Finish: A nice transition. It becomes increasingly spicy and tingly on the back palate as the smoke builds. Long. Some wood bitterness develops right at the end and lingers, entwined with that classic HP smoke.

Time and air were/are very kind to this HP. When I first opened the bottle it was extremely woody and almost acrid. I had genuine fears for its health, particularly given the concerns born of the extraction operation I had to undertake with the aforementioned cork. Halfway down (and well before, to be fair) and the bottle has evolved into an absolute pleasure.

Is there anything more comforting than a good OB Highland Park?

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