Apart from three generous whisky samples and a cocktail kit they also supplied us with a nosing glass and a tumbler. Suffice to say, we all felt very spoilt and looked after!
The drinks sampled were:-
- Highland Park Dark Origins
- Highland Park Smoky Old Fashioned Cocktail
- Highland Park 18 Year Old
Highland Park’s smoky twist on the classic Old Fashioned Cocktail (courtesy of the people from carryoncocktailkit) went down a storm even though some of the tweeters, myself included, failed to get to grips with all the subtleties of the cocktail preparation!
If you want to catch up on what all the tasters had to say you can view the tweets by searching for the hash tag #HighlandPark on Twitter.
So, what did I think?
Here are my tasting notes … and the one which was my favourite on the night!
Tasting Notes – Highland Park Dark Origins (46.8%)
A new core bottling celebrating the early days of Magnus Eunson’s illicit distilling on Orkney. His antics predated the distillery which wasn’t founded until 1798. Magnus worked as a butcher and church official by day, smuggler by night!
To honour Magnus Highland Park created a whisky with a suitably ‘dark’ character. Using 80% first-fill Sherry casks (20% refill) – 60% are first-fill European oak, with 20% being first-fill American oak.
Nose: Sweet with a slight hint of smoke, little bit of orange. Sherryness comes thru after a while mixed with saltiness then later on rich fruit which is a joy!
Palate: Sweeter than I expected with a pronounced blackcurrantness! Smoke n’ sweet and spicy – quite the mouthful! A lot more of the smokiness with the sherry I got with the nose taking a bit of a backseat – not complaining tho!
Finish: Spicy, sweet chocolate giving way to a little dry pepperyness.
Overall: A uniquely tasty blend of dark and light from HP. Light sherry & blackcurrant, dark smoke & spice – I think Magnus would have been pleased – but not about the tax we have to pay on it!
Tasting Notes – Highland Park Smoky Old Fashioned Cocktail
This cocktail consisted of a generous measure of Highland Park Dark Origins, sugar, aromatic bitters and twists of orange and lemon, all poured over ice.
I managed to get there in the end but I did make the mistake of adding the alcohol to the sugar first when I should have added the bitters to the sugar first. Sugar doesn’t dissolve easily in alcohol!
Still, anticipation makes the taste buds grow fonder as they say!
Overall: A lovely, orangey, Xmassy cocktail! A tasty blend of sweet n’ bitter with sweet oranges and clove flavours pushing thru that Dark Origins smokey haze!
Tasting Notes – Highland Park 18 Year Old (43%)
A classic dram featuring in most peoples lists of classic drams, Highland Park 18 was named Best Spirit in the World in F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal in 2005 & 2009. It was also the winner of a Gold Medal at the 2005 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and earned a Liquid Gold Award from Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2014.
Nose: Briney, sugary sweet with a hint of tropical fruit. There’s honey syrup, caramel and apples.
Palate: Very smooth with flavours of mango and passion fruit – glorious! I get very little smoke though – it’s all tropical sunshine & palm trees!
Finish: Quite dry at the end with some peat (there you are!) but the sweetness keeps right on truckin’!
Overall: A dram for your bucket list and it doesn’t dissappoint!
My Favourite On The Night
Well it has to be the Highland Park 18 Year Old – class in a bottle! Dark Origins wasn’t that far behind and if you get the chance – try the cocktail – it’s the business as a Christmas drink!
Many thanks to Steve at The Whisky Wire (@TheWhiskyWire) for a great dram evening and the team at Highland Park (@HighlandPark) for sending such an impressive selection of samples and tasting equipment.
All in all, a fantastic, Dark & Smoky night!
My fellow Tweeters were:-
@TheWhiskyWire @mixxit_wayne @Whisky_Magazine @WhiskyCorner @BeersIveKnown @AlpacaJo @TheWhiskyKiwi @Jamie_Rowley @WhiskyDiscovery @cache1337 @ivyeatsagain @WhiskyWingman @Jassys1961 @MaltActivist @kizzsmyth @Andrews_Share @jdpjamesp @JoeFHolmes @msykesjones @TheFinestCut @RumDiariesBlog @jpbglover11 @julie_gwc @CoupleODrams @whiskyshepherd
Highland Park is available to buy from these Whisky Merchants:-