Tasting Orkney V: Highland Park 18yo
The 18 year old Highland Park is probably the most beloved expression from this distillery. It always represented great quality for a very affordable price. But recently the retail price for the 18 year old was increased by, well, quite a lot actually. Less than a year ago it was widely available for around 65 euro. Some stores still have the more friendlier priced bottles from older batches, but the newer batches go for a price closer to a 100 euro. At the old price it was a good buy, but is that still the case?
Highland Park 18yo (43%, OB)
Nose: Very smoke. Wood smoke and coal smoke, also some lighter peat. After the initial smoke it shows a fruitier side, with apple cider at the forefront. Next up is hay, straw, limestone. It also has a sweeter element, honey and cotton candy. Very well balanced.
Taste: Oak, pepper, peat smoke and licorice. It has an earthy quality, as well as some pine wood. Oranges make for a little more balance, but it is not anywhere near the complexity and richness of the nose.
Finish: Smoke, wood, citrus, salty notes and some peat. Medium to long.
A very good whisky indeed. One that is not completely to my liking, but that it more a matter of preference. Objectively (if there is such a thing) this is a well-balanced and well-rounded whisky. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you spend 100 euro on this, but the Highland Park 18yo becomes a little less attractive with this new price.
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.