- Brand: High Coast Distillery
- ABV: 48%
- Batch: 4
High Coast is located in northern Sweden, at 63 degrees latitude (as the packaging keeps saying). I don't know much about them but they seem to focus solely on single malt. According to the website, they experience large fluctuations in temperature (which would help speed up maturation, despite the cold winters). It is situated next to the Angerman River, which supplies its cooling water. The Hav expression (the Swedish word for "sea") is peated and matured in virgin oak and first fill bourbon casks. It is NAS, not coloured and non chill-filtered.
The colour is a deep auburn. Although the label says it is "lightly peated", based on the nose I would say it is more of a medium-level peating (not strong, but not subtle either). Heavy cinnamon-and-clove with apricot, nutmeg, cardamom, anise... the list of spices goes on (maybe it's a bit all over the place). Candied orange peel. Dark chocolate. Lots of vanilla. Don't add water, it just seems to dull everything down. Very complex but could use a bit more harmony somehow.
Chili-dark-chocolate on the palate with blood orange, more cardamom, dates and dark honey. Generous oak - maybe a bit too generous as it feels almost splintered. Quite fruity with baked apple and overripe banana; but the overwhelming note is spice. The peat on the nose has now been dominated on the palate by the spice, fruit and oak.
The finish has rich baking spices, mouth-drying oak and cracked black pepper. On one hand, this is lip-smacking delicious with serious oak, rich spices and dark fruits; on the other, it never seems to quite harmonize. Like a Tarantino movie, there's lots going on and it's very entertaining, but a bit of a mess.