Review: Highland Park Hobbister
Category: Island single malt scotch whisky
Origin: Highland Park Distillery
Bottling: Edrington Distillery Exclusive
What they say:
Presented by Edrington’s Master Blender Gordon Motion at #MeetTheBlenders2016.
Highland Park Hobbister is intended to be a special treat for those who make it all the way to windy Orkney and will be on sale exclusively from the distillery shop. Named after Hobbister moor, an RSPB nature reserve that Highland Park own part of and are allowed to cut their malting peat from here as part of the sustainability and land management ethos. Orkney peat is composed primarily of Heather as there are no trees on Orkney, giving a vastly different character with very little phenolic content when compared to for example Islay peat.
During an upturn in output Highland Park managed to use up their supplies of malted barley which they typically use in the ratio of 20% Orkney peated at their own floor maltings and 80% unpeated from the Maltsters. Allowed to cut their own peat, having plentiful supplies, they performed some distillation runs using 100% Orkney peated barley. Matured in mostly refill and some 1st fill American oak ex-bourbon casks and around about 6 years old, Gordon took some of this whisky and married it with a little of the stock that makes up the standard HIghland Park 12 Years Old expression to produce this ‘heavily-peated’ Highland Park Hobbister expression.
What I say:
One of my favourite drams from the #MeetTheBlenders2016 event at The Scotch Whisky Experience was this well-peated Highland Park Hobbister expression.
Straw gold with copper highlights (5/20), slow medium-sized tears
Rich heather and gorse brush-smoke, camp-fires, with a sweetness of heather honey, slightly meaty, bbq meat, maple-smoked bacon, malty barley, grassy hay, floral, heather, violets, geranium
Full bodied and rich on the palate, heather honey bursts forth with a meaty and dry nature like beef jerky, the heather and gorse brush smoke are there too with toasted coconut, vanilla essence, but all with a dry mineralic flinty and smoky edge, the florality continues in the palate with parma violets and lavender cookies
Long floral smoke, drying and moreish
What a simply delicious dram delivered like the point of an ice-pick compared to the brutal sledgehammer of heavily peated Islay malts. A slight chameleon on the palate it subtly shifts in part due to the youth of the peated spirit and structured backbone of the older stock. No idea of the price yet but has made me want to visit Highland Park Distillery even more now!
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