Highland Distillery 2005 16 Years (Whisky Import Nederland)
Another day, another undisclosed single malt. Did I complain about this subject already? Yes. I have indeed. But what can I do? It’s simply the reality of today’s whisky market. Where once only a few distilleries forbid independent bottlers from using their name, now many have adopted this practice. Thankfully I’m 99% sure I know where Whisky Import Nederland’s A Highland Distillery 2005 16 Years was distilled.
Recently we’ve seen many undisclosed Highland single malts from this vintage and they seem to come from the same parcel and distillery. In this case that would be Glenmorangie, the Highland distillery known for having the tallest pot stills in Scotland. The design is actually based on a pair of stills that were bought from John Taylor’s gin distillery in 1887, which I’m not sure is a good thing. Then again, Glenmorangie has been making quality whisky for a long time now, turning an apparent disadvantage (the gin stills) into a unique selling point.
The Glenmorangie bottled by Whisky Import Nederland matured for 16 years in a sherry butt and sells for just shy of 100 euros, which sounds like it should be good value for money. Try finding an official cask strength Glenmorangie with an age statement for that price.
Highland Distillery 2005 16 Years (58.3%, Whisky Import Nederland, 2021)
Nose: First some notes of crème caramel and lemon yoghurt, followed by a touch of lychees, redcurrants and orange zest, as well as some perfume-y notes. Whiff of damp oak and nutmeg too.
Taste: Dry, oaky and very spicy. Plenty of black pepper, cloves and nutmeg. Let’s add water immediately. Or maybe I shouldn’t have. It doesn’t do much. Some more? Okay, some more water. Somewhat better now. Slightly creamy, some bitter coffee and resin. But so dry still.
Finish: Burnt honey after a little while. Spicy. Some greener notes. And it goes without saying that it is quite drying.
In all honesty, I wouldn’t recommend A Highland Distillery 2005 16 Years. The nose is above average, but after that it all falls apart. I suppose this is why Glenmorangie would rather not have their name on this bottle.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.