Sunday, December 7, 2014

Highland Park 1988, 25 Year Old, Cadenhead Small Batch

I haven't had a look at this bottle for quite some time so thought now might be a good time to put it back into circulation. It's been open for about a year I think, and stored under argon for the majority of that time. Oxygen will still probably have had its way with it in some small way, though, no doubt.
As you can see in the photo below, this review is from about two thirds of the way down the the bottle.

Highland Park 1988, 25 Year Old, Cadenhead Small Batch 55.7%

Nose: Cola, coffee, cloves, nutmeg - loads of lovely sherry spice notes. Smoke, heather, sultanas and raisins. There's also leather and some nice spicy wood tannins too. Water brings out a little more fruit, with just the slightest suggestion of ripe stonefruit lurking beneath the heavier, dried stuff.

Palate: Huge arrival, starting sweet and spicy at the front and becoming drier as it fans out through and across the palate. Dark chocolate, coffee, dried fruits, those spices again - although now they're even spicier and more peppery - nuts and cigars. The addition of water releases a little more sweetness, while the spiciness continues on with its mouth-coating tingliness.

Finish: Quite long, the spices seemingly outlasting all else. It finishes quite dry and smoky actually, with just a hint of acridity emerging right at the death. Water seems to further extract those smoky notes and, as with the palate, increases the spiciness as it does so. It also seems to extend the finish somewhat.

This was as tasty as I remember it being, although it certainly opened up a whole lot quicker - right out of the bottle really - than I recall it doing when I first cracked it. A hugely powerful sherry blast that still manages to let the distillery's character peek through.


  1. Nice. I have a bottle of this as well---saving it for a special occasion. Or I should say that I have a Cadenhead's bottle of 25 yo Highland Park, 1988 at 55.7%. Given how much of this seems to have gone around the world I'm not sure if there was one single cask, or just one vatting or a bunch of small batch releases with the same abv.

    1. I had thought it was a vatting of two big sherry butts actually, but now that I search I can't find anything to confirm that. Whiskybase has it at a make of 1086 bottles though, which could well be two casks.