Monday, August 17, 2009
I like whiskies of all kinds. Scotch, Canadian and American. I like bourbon too. But, of all the whiskies I have tried, Highland Park 18 year old is my all-time favorite. It presents a truly special whisky drinking experience that is best appreciated by someone who has spent plenty of time drinking other whiskies before happening upon this one.
The distillery producing this very fine spirit has been doing so for more than 200 hundred years in Orkney, Scotland. I will not recount the history of the distillery here. Go to the Highland Park website for a full history. After all, the purpose of my review is to describe what this whisky tastes like. So, lets move to the task at hand.
This is a fine whisky that should not have ice added to it. Ice will dilute the flavours and the complexity. If you drink all your scotch with ice, then limit the quantity to one or two cubes at the very most. You will still enjoy the complexity of flavors but will naturally be experienced a somewhat watered down version. Mind you, some people need the ice to ease any burn the whisky presents when swallowing. If you are a serious scotch drinker, serve this to yourself with a drop or two of distilled water in order to open up the flavours and scents.
An awe inspiring bouquet of peat, smoke, and flowers. You can take several sniffs and keep wondering what wonderful dram awaits your palate.
Rich, luxurious honey/toffee flavors interwoven with nuts, spicy cinnamon, pretzel salt and the perfect hint of peat fill the palate. A chewy dram drying towards the finish. No sharp edges here. No bite, bitterness or burn here. Peat is present but not overwhelming or dominating. It compliments the flavor profile only.
A big, rounded finish of lingering smoke, spices verging on peppercorns you would associate with a flavored rib eye steak, and more toffee. This lingers for a long time in the mouth long after the dram has been swallowed.
You know that you are in the presence of greatness when drinking this very fine single malt scotch. It has won countless awards as the best scotch of this year or that. Now, you understand why. Share this with your best friend, your father, your mentor, during a fireside chat about what life means. Not to be served during happy hour or for the Super Bowl.
This is not cheap to purchase. You are looking at paying around $80 a bottle (750ml). But, remember that you are buying a very high end single malt scotch. In that realm, $80 is actually not that expensive. For example The Macallan 18 year old single malt scotch is substantially more and simply not as good. Johnnie Walker Blue (a premium blend) is nearly double in price, but again not as good. Glenfiddich 18yr old single malt is more in price and not better. So, you get the picture. This would be a wonderful gift to the man or woman who loves single malt scotch. If they have never had it before, it will be a treat that they will forever after be grateful. If they have had it before, they will recognize the time and thought you put into choosing this gift for them. Do not buy this for the casual hard liquor consumer. They will not appreciate it.
There is nothing negative to report about this single malt scotch. I would however caution readers that this is 43% alcohol and so drinking this should not be followed by any driving. One can get quickly intoxicated without the intention. It happened to me one night. I kept taking sips and before I knew it, I was certifiably smashed.
© Jason Debly, 2009-2010. All rights reserved.