[Note: This review was published simultaneously with that of Michael Kravitz at Diving for Pearls. This was one of two bottles he split with me and two of my friends here in Minnesota. A synchronized review of the other bottle will similarly appear on Thursday.]
Highland Park 1986-2007 (54.1%; Scott’s Selection; from a bottle split with friends)
Nose: A touch of caramel to start but then expanding pine resin, a leathery, briny note and a touch of gunpowder. Gets more vegetal/mossy with time and the leathery quality expands as well (a new briefcase). Got called away and left it alone (and covered) for 40 minutes. Now there’s sweet, mossy peat. With a drop of water the gunpowder turns to rock salt.
Palate: Sweet peat and light gunpowder along with that pine resin from the nose. Quite a lot of salt and there’s lemon peel and apricot lurking in the back too. The lemon comes to the fore with time and the salt settles down a little and there’s a little more bitterness; more minerally too now (peppery olive oil), and there’s some paraffin and soot in the background too. A very narrow band of flavours, but very nice. With water there’s some wet stones as well but not much other change.
Finish: Medium. Very salty. With time the salt recedes a little and the bitterness hangs around.
Comments: Very Brora, if you ask me, and very good (though not just for that reason). A very old-school minerally, briny peaty profile–not unlike some contemporary Longrows. Just needs a little more fruit to push it over the top. Now this one I wish I had an entire bottle of. Not for those who are absolutely, completely turned off by any hint of sulphur though.
Rating: 88 points.