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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!