After the first, here we are with the second Highland Park: it’s a single ex-sherry cask, 22 yo, selected and bottled by Cadenhead’s. Who visited the Beija Flor stand at Rome whisky festival surely got the chance to taste it, because we suddenly realized it was a champion, suggesting it to the audience. The day after Serge reviewed it, with satisfaction. Now it is sold out on the Italian market, and we can review it, too.
N: it’s almost 60% abv but it’s incredibly open. And it bears the mark of greatness: an impressive intensity combined with a constant evolution in the glass. The first note is a red fruit jam (strawberry), followed by candied orange, a hint of caramel and a delicate layer of tamarind and chinotto. Meanwhile, everything is made more robust by an intense soul of vegetal/mineral peat. It really smells like a buttery toast, fresh butter indeed. A pinch of sweet flavored tobacco gives an extra complexity. With water, it opens up, revealing enchanting tropical notes.
P: kaboom! Even more intense than the previous HP. A sensory sequence of flames of flavors, a super oily and chewy body. The first shocking explosions of taste are focused on citrus: rich candied orange, chinotto; then, an indistinct but powerful sensation of tropical fruit. Red apple. Later, consistent with the nose, a nice peatiness joins the party: both mineral/waxy and nicely smoked peat. A hint of rhubarb and tamarind, extremely gorgeous. It’s impressive how the dilution allows both the smoky/peaty side and the fruity one to evolve (more and more tropical).
F: long and extremely intense. Pipe’s tobacco, apple, tropicalia, wax, smoke and fruit. Heaven.
Let’s start from the numbers: not less then 93/100. Since we’re comparing two HP, we owe an explanation: same score for two different-but-similar drams. The one bottled by Spirit of Scotland shows an explosive nose and consistent palate and finish. This one has a solid nose and explosive palate and finish. It’s reassuring: the quality of the distillery – in our top five possibly – is confirmed.
Recommended soundtrack: Tom Waits – Gun Street Girl.