Origin: Orkney Islands (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Sherry
Added coloring: No
Owner: The Edrington Group
Average price: € 165.00
Official website: www.highlandparkwhisky.com
Always keen to celebrate Viking culture, Highland Park, Scotland’s most northerly distillery, has in recent times released a high number of NAS. The presence of bottlings without age statement, which responds to the growing demand for whisky by consumers on the one hand, and to precise – and not necessarily despicable – marketing needs on the other, perhaps running the risk of distracting even the seasoned drinker from the pillars of a core range of remarkable quality.
We have already written about the 12 year old Viking Honour, highlighting its many virtues, and now it’s time for the 18 year old.
The recent restyling of the packaging of all Highland Park whiskies has led to the addition of the wording “Viking Pride” for this ageing. Since we cannot guarantee with absolute certainty that there are no differences, even slight, in the taste of the whisky as well as in the packaging, we would like to remind you that our dram comes from the previous version (in the photograph), which is still widely available.
First launched in 1997, Highland Park 18yo is made from a mix of European and American oak casks, all former Sherry casks, which follow a very specific route: once selected, they are shipped to Jerez, Spain, and filled with Sherry Oloroso. After three years, they return to Scotland, ready to receive the distillate for eighteen more.
To the eye, the whisky appears in its natural golden colour.
On the nose, against a background of very faint peat, a range of aromas opens up in perfect harmony: a whiff of orange, a touch of dried apricot, a caress of dark chocolate, all included in a delicate embrace of honey. After a few minutes, it’s the chocolate that gains in tone.
On the palate, the peat grows in depth, but only for a few moments. The other notes become milder, almost shy, with a prevalence of honey.
The finish is very brief, with fleeting notes of orange and honey.
Given its age, we would have expected a more robust body and a little more drive on the palate.
It remains a whisky of uncommon elegance, confirming the aromatic richness and deep balance of Highland Park spirits.