Origin: Orkney Islands (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry Oloroso
Added coloring: No
Owner: The Edrington Group
Average price: € 70.00
Official website: www.highlandparkwhisky.com
After a few months’ absence, the Orkney Islands’ most famous distillery is back on the blog, with a limited edition initially conceived only for the Swedish market but then distributed throughout Europe. It’s a 10yo, called Ambassador’s Choice, which comes from a combination of American oak casks (70%) and former oloroso sherry (30%).
The colour is natural, as always with Highland Park, the alcohol content is 46% ABV and the outturn is 3,000 bottles still widely available in Italy (and at a reasonable price for a limited edition).
Amber with golden reflections in the glass
On the nose, the first sensation is of freshly cut light wood; then it’s a triumph of citrus fruits with plenty of yellow orange and lemon peel. The spicy side sees ginger and white pepper at the forefront, while a pleasant hint of almond paste is accompanied by a touch of orange cream. The characteristic light smoke of Highland Park remains all too much in the background, like a distant memory not quite in focus. We are faced with a pleasant smell that doesn’t, however, break through the wall of enthusiasm.
In the mouth, the smoke grows quite a bit in intensity. We find light wood again, to an important extent, this time together with yellow apple, yellow orange and a discreet dash of white pepper that tries in vain to give verve to a palate that tends to flatten out and lose bite rather quickly.
The finish is decidedly short for our taste, with spicy accents and a slight smokiness in the background. The very last impression is of apricot.
We are very fond of Highland Park and its single malts, but it’s quite evident that with the passage of time, and of drinking, our enthusiasm has cooled somewhat. Here we are faced with a whisky that is far from unpleasant but evidently ‘compromise’, made to please no one: irreproachable in its balance of tones, but also a little dull, so lacking in sparkle as to risk resembling a missed opportunity for aficionados.