Saturday, June 10, 2017

Highland Park 18 year (1996/2014, Bourbon Cask #14040, 54.2%, Malts of Scotland)

I know what my readers want: more reviews of obscure EU-only releases that have long been sold out. Still, I haven't yet achieved the epic levels of peak-uselessness that fill Chairman MAO's blog. No, that would take doing a review of a 2004 release of Balmenach and then giving it an 81 point score.

But I'll try to honor his style, minus the sanctimonious lecturing about how awful America is.

I have a problem with buying way too many samples, especially from Malts of Scotland, an exceptional German bottler that's unavailable in the U.S. but has been releasing consistently phenomenal casks at excellent prices.

My original intent is coherent: "Try it first, then you can order a full bottle." But I eventually forget to open the damned things, and then by the time I try them, it's too late to order any more. This is one of those cases. Yes, I'm completely dysfunctional.

This is zesty stuff. Moderate citrus peat, pepper, and a lot of fresh fruit and vanilla, kind of like an excellent batch of Talisker 18. The finish is strong with an antiseptic note of peat and more spice. If anything, this is better on the back end than the front. But the whole malt is a complete thought, just fantastic!

I'm not a giant fan of regular Highland Park: it's fine, middle-of-the-road, 84 point-ish malt: a bit too dilute and short on the finish, but lots of signs of potential. The "what would this taste like at cask strength?" question immediately pops up.

This is a refreshing and well-balanced, a great mix of fruit and peat, with a clean taste I associate with the current Springbank distillate. Maybe a dash of Clynelish? And yes, some Talisker. Highly recommended, if it could actually be acquired. I need to get my life together and actually start tackling some of these samples when they still serve a purpose.

88 pts/B+. One of those delightful malts that jumps out of the glass and you know it's going to be phenomenal at from the first whiff. I saved a bit of my sample which I intend to send to Sku so that he can confirm my brilliant palate.

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