Thursday, September 06, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #154

Highland Park 1990 16 yo
The Single Malts of Scotland
Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky
46% abv


Highland Park was built in the same year as Tobermory (tasted Tuesday), 1798. Sometimes lovingly refered to as HP sauce, Highland Park is well known for adding depth of flavour to blended whiskies. But Highland Park is a respected brand as a single malt, winning awards and accolades the world over. Michael Jackson has called it 'the greatest all-rounder in the world of whisky" and F. Paul Pacult decided the 18yo was "The Best Spirit in the World" in 2005.

Highland Park shares at least one unique feature with Glenmorangie and Bunnahabhain (among others), and that is the use of hard, mineral-rich water in the production of its whisky. Most distilleries source their water from springs or burns with soft water, water with little or no calcium or magnesium ions and the old rule of thumb for distilling was "soft water, through peat, over granite."

Orcadians, the people who live in the Orkney islands, have a special history quite separate from that of the rest of Scotland. Neolithic tribes inhabited the islands before the Picts, and Orcadians also have heritage ties to the Norse who annexed the islands in 875 and ruled until 1472. The flag of Orkney is exactly like that of Norway, with yellow replacing white around the cross.

This is another bottling from The Single Malts of Scotland range from The Whisky Exchange/Speciality Drinks. For more info, or to read about other Highland Parks tasted on the Malt Mission, click HERE.


Perfumy, but in an odd way; like scented candles or fake plastic fruit. Some pear, shortbread, and vanilla. The processed impressions remain: newspaper, CD cases, pomade. Really interesting and unusual. After some minutes tropical impressions come to the fore. Islands irie, Jamaica no problem.

Big malty impact, nutty and very spicy, with cumin and sumac. Bubblegum underneath a spicy herbal concoction, like some European homeopathic extract that is supposed to prevent against illness/remedy baldness/cure cancer. Finish, or the lingering flavours, have been different with every sip so I really have no note that would be fair to share. Medium-long, in any event.


Not for the casual drinker, this is an experience. Changes a great deal with time in the glass and with water, but remains a odd-ball. To be enjoyed among friends and discussion. Tried all the standard bottlings from Highland Park? Interested in what else goes on in the dark corners of their warehouses? This is for you.

Malt Mission #151
Malt Mission #152
Malt Mission #153
Malt Mission #155

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1 comment:

Roo said...

Now HP is one of my favourite Malts, soley due to it introducing me to the distinction between a Single Malt and a cheap blended whisky.
I didscovered it on a cold and snowy day in the Orkney's when there was nothing to do but visit the distillery.
Since then I've been quite a devoted fan of Single Malts, but my heart belongs to HP!
I even created a Beginners Guide To Malt But it pales into a cheap foriegn blended whisky compared with this site!