Highland Park 19, 1995 (SMWSA)

Allow me to continue my geographically-inexact series of whisky reviews. Last week I posted a review of a Speyside whisky (a Balmenach) on the day I left for Glasgow, and a review of an Old Pulteney when up in the Highlands (okay, so that one wasn’t so far off the map). Today is our last day in Skye and as I don’t have any Talisker at hand I am posting this review of a Highland Park (which is at least also located on an island).

This was bottled by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America and they saw fit to give it the name “Nordic Nosh”. It’s from a bourbon cask. The distillery doesn’t put out anything (?) that’s exclusively bourbon cask—even though ex-bourbon Highland Park can be excellent—but the indies pick up the slack. I quite liked the last ex-bourbon Highland Park from the SMWSA that I reviewed, so I’m hopeful. 

Highland Park 19, 1995 (53.9%; SMWSA 4.217 “Nordic Nosh”; refill hogshead; from a bottle split)

Nose: A little grassy with mild, prickly peat. The prickly note transitions to mineral oil as it sits and it gets quite briny. After a few minutes there’s a big swell of a rotting/organic note but also sweeter notes of almond paste. Sweeter with water and more citrussy.

Palate: Sweet, minerally peat that expands as I swallow. Lovely, oily mouthfeel. The peat is bigger on the second sip—not phenolic at all, more in the hot tarmac family with some grilled mackerel thrown in. Later the bitterness includes lime zest. Smokier still with water.

Finish: Long. Gets ashier as it goes. Some pepper too at the end. Less peppery with water.

Comments: An austere, peaty Highland Park with an old-school Highlands profile. Good, bourbon cask Highland Park can be so good. This is very far from the official sherried profile. I’m guessing this is long sold out but if you haven’t had bourbon cask Highland Park I’d recommend seeking some out.

Rating: 87 points.

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