I probably have no right to be pissed off, but if there’s something that gets me angry in the whisky industry it’s lack of transparency. The reason I have no right to be angry about this one, is that I didn’t travel 725 miles (1166 kilometers) to buy the bottle in question.
In fact, my friend and fellow blogger Yoav Gelbfish of the excellent Whisky Gospel blog, jumped through some hoops to get this bottle (you can, and might want to, read all about it here).
What does tick me off is that no information was given on the bottling other than that it’s a vatting of two casks, one of which is European oak and the other American oak at 53.3% ABV. That’s it. So knowing all Highland Park is willing to let us know about the bottling, we proceed to taste it:
Highland Park, Bottle Your Own, Bottle 275 (53.3% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Copper, legs are very quick to clear the glass but it looks like a layer remained coating the glass all the way up to the necklace (physically impossible, of course, but it’s what it looks like).
Nose: Sweet sherry notes with a lot of dried fruit, from sultana raisins to dried apricot leather. Dried apricots rule this dram, with heather honey drizzled on top. You can just make out the peat, but it’s almost drowned out in the waves of sweetness. You can just make out the oak in the background with a hint of dust. The nose promises a really sweet dram, I wonder if the palate delivers that.
Palate: Yummy. Thick and viscous, with a light sweetness, a hit of caramel and an oaky bitterness which gives way to spice, and then a wave of peaty sweetness washes over the tongue again.
Linger: Spice on the tongue with peat, and bitterness further back and in the throat. The peat is pretty dominant in the very long finish, and the bitterness this dram imparts is stellar.
This is a very fine dram that hits so many right notes for me. If I assume two hogsheads, 275 bottles should be right around the halfway point of the number of bottles yielded, and since you need to take the top tiered tour (for £75) just to qualify to buy the bottle, it’s possible that bottles of it are still on sale. The downside is, of course, that you need to get to Orkney and take the Magnus Eunson Tour. On second thought, I’m not sure this really is a downside 🙂
Yoav, I know getting this bottle didn’t come cheaply, but it was well worth it. Thanks for sharing 🙂