Highland Park 18 is one of my favorite whiskies of all time, this is not a secret, and I think many people share that love for this amazingly well crafted balanced whisky. I find myself tasting 100’s of whiskies yearly, and still going back to the HP 18, after a some time I have not sat and appreciated a dram , thinking “this is brilliant stuff”. It’s hard making something so good even better. Recently with the revamping of the TR range (duty-free as we mortals call it), together with the new whiskies, (one of which I’ve reviewed recently : Wings of the Eagle, and the rest will be reviewed shortly) , they released an 18 year old TR edition of a 18-year-old whisky. The bottle is quite different (as you can see it’s black and sexy), and the whisky is slightly different bottled at a higher abv (46%), the whisky is vatted from a selection of 120 sherry seasoned European oak casks, married together before bottling and bottled at 46% abv.
Nose: Ah, it’s very nice indeed : A nice sweet touch with dried fruit , but not too heavy (think dried apricot), there’s a very nice charred oak and ashy touch with the HP peat in the backdrop , some toffeed apple vanilla and heather honey , with a touch of saltiness. There’s a nice balance of sherry influence , oak, and sweet / salty notes. very nice indeed, although i think the wood influence here is not as strong as the original 8.
Palate: Nice honeyed backbone, with a zingy touch, some peppery notes, ripe orange, chocolate, fudge, more wood char, and lovely ashy notes, peat and heather, with the smoke and sweetness going on for a while, again a touch of salt.
Finish : chocolate, salted toffee, warming smoke, and quite a lot of oak. Love it.
Conclusion: Many people (rightly) say that Travel Retail stores are filled with under par whiskies, which are overpriced and of lower quality. It might be true , but not for this whisky. It’s just excellent. A real nice HP, and easily recognized for the signature HP peat, heather and sherry. If you’re a HP fan, and you’re going to want a bottle of this nectar. Well done, balanced, complex and highly drinkable. Brilliant.