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Highland Park 18 Year Old

Love Takes Time...

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@PizaroReview by @Pizaro

8th Jan 2013

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Overall
    93

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It took awhile…

As if a woman I’d long been longing to hold, but who had resisted me, teasing then turning away, warm but not generous, non-committal, has finally answered my entreaties with a full, whole-hearted, loving embrace.

More than a wink, this time she fulfills all promise and slays me with her charms.

Highland Park 18 is one of those whiskies one hears about as a consistent pinnacle of the distiller’s art, a high point, one of the great ones. However, when I first bought a bottle, maybe two months ago, it did not – in my opinion – live up to it’s reputation. Rich, warm, many layered – no aspect of the nose, palate or finish had anything wrong about it. It just wasn’t the masterpiece I had been led to expect.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I read on this site a few comments about this whisky that got me interested again. The two posts (sorry, I forgot who wrote them) suggested that HP18 improves over time once opened – that a bit of oxidation is good for her. One post even suggested pouring it – roughly – into a decanter and letting it sit for two or three weeks.

Well, I took that advice, even shook it up a bit before putting it aside. I am so glad I did! What a difference a shake and a fortnight make!

The nose has opened and broadened. Baked fruits, heathery honey, butter and salt, just a hint of peatiness. And something just a bit sharper, brighter, rising up with the fuming alcohol – salted celery, perhaps? A hint of smoky pineapple? In any case, if a woman smelled like this, I would propose marriage even before opening my eyes to see her!

The palate delivers on the promise and adds more layers of honey, butter, fresh sweet cream in a warming pan, stewed fruits in a refined body oil texture. Ground almonds? There’s a malty sensuality here that is exciting, but soothing and serene.

Now that I’ve proposed and fallen head over heals, will she say yes?

The finish is where she takes your hand, kisses you passionately and holds you in a warm, lasting, sensuous, honey-spiced, flowing nocturnal embrace that spreads its elegant heat through your chest, cradling your now submissive heart in soft spirit fire. Yes, she says – Oh, yes, let’s do it again!

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3 comments

Rigmorole commented

Terrific review. Any idea if your bottle was a newer one or an older one? I've heard that the Highland Park 18 is getting a little more uneven, batch by batch these days.

I'm planning on buying a bottle soon, and I was wondering if it was worth my while to try to find an older bottle somehow. I see you are on the East Coast. A straight shot from Scotland, so to speak, as compared with the Pacific Northwest where I live.

Does the 18 identify batches as such or the year it was bottled? I would imagine so. Maybe I need to make a scouting trip to the liquor store. The store near me probably has a very high turnover, so the bottles are probably on the newer side. That is my concern.

I have tasted the 18 several times in bars, but never actually owned my own bottle yet. I have loved the stuff in bars in Oregon. One of my favorites for sure.

6 years ago 0

Jason0142 commented

Brilliant Review. Highland Park 18 has always been one of my favourite whisky's good to see others enjoying it. You should give the 25 and 30 a go, they sell on whisky exchange in miniatures so you can give them a try without the cash investment of a full bottle of older whisky.

@rigmorole, about your question on batch variation HP18 does have some batch variation, though in my experience it isn't anything major a 'bad' batch would be good-very good where their 'good' batches are great. At least in my experience I've never had a glass that was bad. Also as far as I know there isn't a way to identify when the bottle was bottled, if it is possible I'd like to know as well.

6 years ago 0

@Pizaro
Pizaro commented

@Jason0142, I'd love to try the 25 and 30, but here in the U.S. we can't have Scotch shipped in and, even in the U.S., the state I live in, Massachusetts, doesn't permit shipments from any other state. Bad situation, but I am fortunate to have a great whiskey store here in my old mill city, Taunton, run by a very generous and enthusiastic malt lover, so I do get to try some things before I buy. Thanks for your comments!

@rigmorole, To answer your question, I did buy an older bottle - round bottomed bottle in the square top cardboard box - but I've never heard of much variation with HP. As soon as this one's gone, I'll be buying the one in the new packaging without much trepidation! Thanks for your comments!

6 years ago 0

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