Whisky Review: Highland Park 2004 Cask Strength Connoisseurs Choice
- Category: Island single malt scotch whisky
- Origin: Highland Park Distillery
- Bottling: Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, Cask Strength
- ABV: 60.0%
- Cost: £tbc
What they say
For more than 120 years Gordon & MacPhail has pursued a singular path to become the master of single malt Scotch whisky maturation.
Passion for single malt Scotch whisky has been at the heart of our family business for four generations. This range is an ever-changing collection of unique perspectives on distilleries’ own bottlings, non-chill-filtered single cask and small batch expressions bottled at cask strength and exceptional one-offs.
For the malt whisky explorer, it promises a journey of discovery through different flavours, finishes, strengths and vintages.
Highland Park 2004 Bottled at 60% Vol
- Distillery: Highland Park
- Region: Island
- Distilled: Monday 21 June 2004
- Bottled: Thursday 22 February 2018
- ABV: 60%
- Years Old: 13
- Cask No. 3812
- Cask Type: First fill Sherry butt
- Outturn: 655 bottles
- Batch: 18/016
Official tasting notes:
- Colour: Dark Gold.
- Nose: Fresh, sweet, balanced: hints of seaside moss transform into tangy lemon, sweet meringue, and silky butter shortbread. Soft toffee notes unfold over time.
- Taste: Creamy leading into warming spice, hints of milk chocolate and toasted hazelnuts mature into warm cinnamon buns glazed with brown sugar and sweet raisins.
- Finish: Medium with a delightful and lingering wood smoke edge.
What I say
Thanks to Gordon & MacPhail for providing a sample of one of their new Cask Strength Connoisseurs Choice range of whiskies for their #MaturationExpert portfolio relaunch.
This Highland Park expression was filled into a 1st fill Sherry butt in 2004 and bottled in 2018 at 13 Years Old.
Presented at natural cask strength of 60.0% ABV
My tasting notes:
- Appearance: Bright, old Madeira (13/20), numerous fine tears leave ultrafine legs.
- Nose: Floral and toffee initially, perhaps a little closed at first, or maybe my caution expecting spirit burn at this strength? Complex, orange oil and candied lemon peel, wood spices such as cinnamon and a hint of nutmeg, some tannins like new leather shoes, candyfloss, more fruit, but stone fruits like peach and apricot, heather honey, a baked or caramelised sweetness, I imagined an apricot and orange pie in shortcrust pastry fresh out of the oven, a little woody heather stems/sprigs too.
- Taste: Warming, medium to full bodied, boiling caramel with fresh orange slices in it, butter toffee, ginger spice, milk chocolate and chocolate orange (Terry’s), cinnamon spiced, orange oil, candied peel, heather honey, suede leather tannins, nutty hazelnut, nutella, woody and herbal, oak wood and lemon verbena, a hint of prickly/heathery peat and some guauicol ‘wood smoked’ flavour. Reduced with water a distinct vanilla note and more milk chocolate were revealed, it became initially sweeter than a much sharper contrast to the cinnamon spice and heathery peat, perhaps a touch more malty too.
- Finish: Long, sweet, fruity clementines and fresh lemon juice, wisps of heathery peat and wood smoke.
A flavour-packed expression from Gordon & MacPhail in their new Cask Strength Connoisseurs Choice range. I’d expect nothing less from a Highland Park matured in a first fill Sherry butt. The balance achieved is supreme, and the result highly drinkable even at 60% ABV. This expression was stuffed full of fresh and stewed fruits, the sherry influences lightly adding toffee, chocolate, tannin, leather and spices, and matched by sweetness, malt, and heathery peat and wood smoke.
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