There is an onslaught of beautiful single casks from Highland Park hitting northern European markets in the past two months. They’re all market specific, and play on the special relationship between Orkney’s Nordic roots and Scandinavia. The distillery, well Edrington, invests quite a bit in this relationship (just follow Martin Markvardsen – HP’s Senior Brand Ambassasdor – on social media, and you’ll see the extent of the company’s investment), and these market specific single cask bottlings are part of the story.
Braunstein is a Danish distillery, into which I’ll delve in one of the next posts, as Jesper Thomsen has generously provided me with a sample of a gorgeous Braunstein sherry cask they bottled. Bruanstein has a whisky fair, and Highland Park bottled a single cask for it, titled “Braunstein and Friends”.
This cask is an utter beauty and was well selected. I’d love to get hold of the other recent casks bottled for Gremany, Finland (SMWS & YVS), Norway (Oslo Festival), and Sweden.
Highland Park 2003 Single Cask, 12 Year Old Denmark Exclusive Bottled for Braunstein & Friends, First Fill Sherry Butt #5878, 648 Bottles (58.3% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Bronze with the whisky leaving a thin necklace that leaves extremely slow moving droplets down the glass, with long legs behind them. It looks very viscous. Please note that the mock up picture to the right does not do justice to the actual color.
Nose: This is a bona fide sherry bomb with leather and dark dried fruit (prunes and dried bluberries and cranberries). There are hints of old tobacco smoke, crossing into the “old sherry” territory in a way that’s quite remarkable for a 12 year old. This is one hell of a sherry cask. Some time gives it a light hit of carnations and some heather honey. A couple of drops of water bring the peat up, and faint notes of a struck match.
Palate: Lots of the European oak, with “burnt wax” sherry you get from the combination of the light peat and the fresh sherry (some might refer to this as sulfur, but to me the two are different) . There’s lots of wood spices, with pepper, clove and cinnamon, and a dryness. The liquid isn’t as thick in the mouth as I expected. The water brought out more of the spices, making it more peppery, with that burnt wax there in full force and some bitterness coming through.
Linger: Oaky, dry with fruit and wood spices and that burnt wax you get in 1950s and 1960s G&M sherry casks (I got that in the old Strathisla, Mortlach and Glen Grants from those years) on the tongue. The dried fruit appear after a while on the tongue and the top of the gullet holds the spice. The linger is overall dry, and somewhat waxy. With the addition of water, the linger is spicier and peatier. And LONG!
This is definitely a bottle I’d love to have. It develops, it’s complex (surprisingly so for a 12 year old) and is really fun.
Thank you so much, Jesper Thomsen, for sharing this outstanding dram!