In a whisky world where the battle for the highest age statement is ever ongoing, the Highland Park 8 year old is often overlooked. Our guest reviewer Phil Dwyer shares his thoughts on the Highland Park 8 Year Old from the 1970s in this week’s Phil Your Glass.
So, I’m a Highland Park fanboy, I know they’ve not got great press recently for standard bottlings, but I’ll always love them. They have produced some of the most affordable and one of the most expensive bottles I’ve ever owned. The love is real. But I’ve never tried anything this young in an official bottle, I’ve been spoiled with younger, cask strength independent bottles, so let’s see how this holds up.
Nose: Peach, honey, pomegranate, and vanilla. The smoke is so subdued and gentle, not even gentle, it’s so soft. Huge fruit notes: passionfruit, kiwi, apple, pine, butterscotch, and pinot grigio. Such a bourbon driven fruit bomb! Only Kavalan Bourbon casks and Hakushu 18YO have gotten noses like that from me before. I could wear that smell as aftershave all day.
Palate: Weighty in texture. Milky coffee, chestnuts, hazelnuts, honey, breakfast tea and black pepper. A mixture of breakfast flavours and wintery snacks and spice. The barrel influence is very gentle, the smoke is still playing a very background supporting role.
Finish: More coffee, brown sugar, and mint. Cleansing and fresh with big fruit notes still shining through with minimal smoke and spice. Unusual, I love the nose, but the finish is so clean that it could almost be a cocktail.
Assessment: Different! Exotic fruitiness with a breakfast drink transition. I like it, not my favourite Highland Park but it’s memorable for all the right reasons.