We have recently made up with Highland Park: a bit sickened by the endless pseudo-Viking series, with higher and higher prices and lower and lower satisfaction, we have started to turn permanently to independent bottlers, who are now particularly rich in single casks of an unmentionable Orkney distillery… Today we give another chance to OB, and we choose a bottling initially released for the American market and recently landed in the Old Continent: Full Volume, aged almost 17 years (vintage 1999, bottled 2017) in ex-bourbon first fill barrels. If you want to know more, on the side of the (beautiful) packaging there’s the band that we put here on the side.
N: very pleasant, you can smell the bourbon first fill and the HP spirit remains perhaps a bit on the sidelines. So it’s super creamy, with custard, banana ice cream, apple peel, fruit pastry from which the fruit has fallen. Sweetened pineapple juice. A sense of sweaty, marzipan-like fruit. A light light peat remains alive, with a very pleasant persistent mineral scent.
P: the entrance is very pleasant and striking: given a sweetness that remains very evident, with more custard and buttery pastry and vanilla, towards the finish the identity of Highland Park grows, with smoky peat (light smoke, let’s say), cereal and mineral earth, with an increasing saltiness and even black pepper. Still fruity, essentially we say “yellow apple”.
F: salty, light and mineral peat (warm wet rock, says Angelo), with the yellow apple returning at the end.
86/100: cheap by official Highland Park standards (if you think that the ‘normal’ 18 years old costs 140€… this is also under 100€), and above all it’s really good. Sure, you can’t deny how the contribution of the first-fill barrels holds back a bit the wilder spirit of the Kirkwall distillery, but what do we care?
Recommended soundtrack: obligatory, given the packaging, is Manowar – Blow Your Speakers.