Highland Park 1989 30 Years (Gordon & MacPhail)
There’s a lot of Highland Park doing the rounds these days. I’m of course talking about all those undisclosed Orkney whiskies released by independent bottlers. One of them told me they were offered 50.000 liters of Highland Park! It’s almost as if Edrington needed a quick influx of cash to accommodate some big project or something…
You won’t find any undisclosed Orkney whiskies from Gordon & MacPhail though. They’ve a longstanding agreement with Highland Park and are allowed to mention the distillery’s name on the labels of their bottlings. That’s also why they can bottle Highland Park from the 1980s, whereas most of the undisclosed releases are from the late 1990s or even 2000s.
One such whisky I’m reviewing today. Matured in a refill sherry butt for three decades, this promises to be a cracker.
Highland Park 1989 30 Years (51.1%, Gordon & MacPhail, Batch 19/003)
Nose: Hints of aniseed and port stewed pears, as well as dates, raisins and raw sugar, with just a small amount of honey. Touches of polished leather, cigar tobacco and cappuccino as well. Utterly delicious.
Taste: This is not slowing down in the least. Blackberries, ripe apple and dark chocolate, but also menthol and tobacco leaves, followed by orange zest and cinnamon. Even a touch of grapefruit.
Finish: Lingering spices (soft pepper notes) and subtle fruits. Sliver of smoke.
An awesomely delicious Highland Park that — in terms of flavour profile — is so far away from the current onslaught of younger undisclosed Orkney whiskies, that I can’t help but wonder if they changed something in the production regime since.
Sample provided by Gordon & MacPhail
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.