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HIGHLAND PARK 18 YO ‘VIKING PRIDE’ (2019, OB, 46%)

It’s almost ten years we are not reviewing an Higland Park 18 years old, and this is not good, not at all. A standard, a neverending classic, celebrated by everyone (and we’re no exception) on earth and sea, so typical of the distillery from Kirkwall – distillery that was criticized by many (and we’re no exception) for the heavy increase of prices. We still remember when this bottle used to cost around 70€, now you need at least the double – it must be because of its new “Viking pride” name, that seems very pricey. A mix of bourbon and sherry casks, it has a light peatiness that comes from a peculiar barley recipe: it’s a mix of their own barley, malted and heavily peated in the distillery’s malting floor and kiln, and of outsourced unpeated barley.

N: very good, welcoming as we remembered it. It makes the miracle of being fresh and sticky at the same time: there are ‘orange’ notes of sweet citrus (candied citrus? orange marmalade?), tinned peaches, raisins, licorice and some salted caramel, acacia honey. There’s a note of crispy, peated barley, with a slight saltiness, really lovely.

P: exceptional and explosive, even if it has a very sharp body, and much more HP than the nose: the gentle peat comes out here, with its fat, oily note: wax, paraffin, some burnt bread. Very mineral. There’s a Barbour feeling, if you know what we mean. Don’t think it’s only sharp though: it’s also well sweet and fruity. Salted toffee. Chocolate, licorice, some leather. Brioche. Tinned fruit, peaches and raisins. Salted carobs – do they actually exist?

F: long, lingering, it’s a fruit cake (apples and raisins… no, ok, it’s a strudel!), covered by heather and a peated barley powder. 

Excellent: nose is seducing e you’d stay and contemplate it for hours, and the palate is great too, but maybe it lacks a bit of compactness to get to absolute glory – it has a sort of watery and slender touch… But we must say that even with this thinness it manages to fill tha palate and tease it with many suggestions. 89/100, we confirm our great love for this bottling.

Recommended soundtrack: Pink Floyd – Sheep.

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