Highland Park 2005 12 Years Old (Gatwick Airport Exclusive)
To commemorate the opening of Gatwick Airport’s new North Terminal later this month, Highland Park has teamed up with World Duty Free to release a single cask bottling. They’ve picked a Highland Park 2005 12 Years Old from and ex-sherry cask.
The high abv at which this is bottled immediately catches the eye. At 66,4%, this is highest ever percentage an official Highland Park has been bottled at (according to data available on Whiskybase). As Highland Park fills its cask at 69,5% most of the time, this has held it’s abv remarkably well.
Highland Park 2005 12 Years Old (66,4%, OB for Gatwick Airport, C#1140)
Nose: Vanilla and fudge, with a hint of menthol and ginger. Touch of sulphur. Some soft fruits too. Nectarines, but also plenty of oranges, accompanied by a whiff of honey and strawberries. Adding water gives it a more floral vibe. It never really opens up though.
Taste: Shoe polish and plenty of oak and spices. There’s nutmeg, ginger and cloves. A big hit of white pepper. Lets add a splash of water. That calms it down a bit. More toffee notes now, as well as milk chocolate and caffè macchiato. It also has a nutty quality. A whisper of smoke now as well.
Finish: Lingering spices, plenty of oak.
At full strength this is probably too much for most. I know it was for me at least. But playing with water helps and shows this Highland Park has a little more depth than you might expect at first. Available exclusively at Gatwick Airport from 26th October, priced at £104.
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.