Ferraretto is a name that reminds whisky lovers of only one thing: the Highland Park of the 70s and 80s. We are privileged, and today we are lucky enough to taste the second HP of that era, after a really exciting 1958 vintage (93 points in our archive): thanks to Luca Bellia, a fan from Pavia already mentioned on these pages, we put nose and taste buds on a 1956 vintage, bottled in 1974 at 43%.
N: immediately very complex, full of nuances: after a 40-year long sleep in the bottle, it stretches in the glass as it goes along. A discreet minerality welcomes us, together with an even more discreet wax, helping to outline a silky profile, with sensations of old furniture, propolis, old paper, old wood… Even a thread of peat, with acrid and ‘sweaty’ veins. However, it remains very lively in the glass, with juicy notes of citrus fruits (mandarin and orange, even peel), Martorana fruit (those marzipan sweets made of almond paste and lacquered), dried figs. And then again, hints of freshly baked apple pie. Perhaps the result of a slight oxidation, it has developed notes of ‘aftershave’, but they show only intermittently.
P: here, unfortunately, we have to record an evident loss of alcohol content, certainly below 40%, which gives back a depowered profile, both in terms of a palatal kick (!) and of complexity of flavors. The mineral content is unfortunately the most flattened side. There are still some sweet notes, among cereal biscuit, apricot, a yellow baked apple… Honey? There’s a spice, maybe white pepper, and then a hint of wax, of ‘old whisky’. More citrus – orange peel.
F: not very long, wax and apricot quite evident. Honey, too.
Bottled 44 years ago, we definetely can’t blame it for losing a bit of liveliness and body. On the other hand, all the elegance of a spectacular nose remains, and this alone justifies the price of the ticket. We’ll spare you the refrain about “you were better off when you were worse off” and “how good the whiskies used to be”, because these are all things you already know: 88/100. Luca: thank you very much, really.
Recommended soundtrack: Afrika Bambaata & UB40 – Reckless.