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It has been my opinion since tasting this dram last year that it was only slightly better than Highland Park 12yr. However, I never gave it a good tasting, so I picked up another 5cl miniature to give it another go.
This is a 43% ABV bottling, with a nice copper hue to the whisky.
Nose: Sweet -n- salty are the first aromas that hit me. Smoke, and really nice peat notes. The subdued peat is complemented by the sea air on the nose. The sweet smoke is growing. Apples & pears: freshly sliced & sprinkled w/ cinnamon. Slight ginger?
Body: Lively, with a firm mouth feel.
Palate: Warming spice, w/ sweet Honeycrisp apples dipped in caramel. Smokiness. Salt & pepper.
Finish: Sweet smoke! This is a real winner. Smooth w/ spice, lingering on the long finish.
Intensely satisfying. This whisky adds a layer of smokiness to what is otherwise my favorite profile: sweet & spicy. The only way to get this better is to push the ABV north of 50%, maybe 56-58%? Heck, just give it to me at cask strength.
My new mission: find an independent bottling of sherried Highland Park bottled at cask strength.
Enjoying this dram with a cigar just brings out the best of its character.