Origin: Orkney Islands (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Sherry
Added coloring: No
Owner: The Edrington Group
Average price: € 55.00
Official website: www.highlandparkwhisky.com
Let’s tackle the summer heat by heading, with imagination and glass, to the Orkney Islands to sample another of Highland Park’s NAS, the Dragon Legend.
The name honours the mythological Norse warrior Sigurd who, in a remote age, slew the terrible dragon Fafnir and, drinking its blood, was gifted prophecy and wisdom. We hope that the same will happen to us with whisky in general, although so far, as those who know us can testify, it has not happened…
The particularity of Dragon Legend, matured in former sherry seasoned oak, is that it contains a larger than usual percentage of Orkney peat. The gravity is an original 43.1% ABV.
The natural colour is amber.
On the nose, the increased presence of peat results in an acrid (charcoal) smoke that is much more intense and less aromatic than what we are used to with Highland Park. A note of black pepper further darkens the entry of sweet notes such as royal jelly and caramel, with a substrate of apricot accompanying a hint of almond. From afar, a puff of vanilla follows the procession, while a touch of orange peel peeps out in time.
On the palate, the entrance is smoky, with a black pepper spice, but soon gives way to caramel, apricot, a note of custard and a hint of orange peel. The whole is not unpleasant, but suffers, perhaps due to the low degree, from a worrying lack of intensity that turns, in the long run, into a vague watery sensation.
The finish, not exactly long, leaves a memory of smoke and pepper, with a background of sweetness.
While certainly not a bad whisky, Dragon Legend is one of the least memorable Highland Park whiskies we have tasted. The idea of increasing the peat content is an interesting one and, at least on the nose, there is no shortage of reason to be suggestive. But in the mouth the construction proves rather fragile and the dram doesn’t stand the test of time (and memory).