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Well, I recently got a bottle of HP18, and I must say that it is as superb as I remember it being over the years.
Here are my tasting notes:
On the nose, I am welcomed by orange blossom, lychee, cedar, and vanilla. The palette does not disappoint, with a full rich mouth feel complimented by sea salt caramel, white chocolate, nutmeg, cinnamon, peppercorn, and baked red apples.
There is also some clover honey that helps to form a bridge into the finish, which is long, and generously sweet, yet also a bit smoky, with echoes of the white chocolate, spices, and macadamia nut.
The final impression is one of anise and chimney smoke co-mingling on an autumn evening after the leaves have just fallen and the ground is fragrant and fertile before the cold weather sets in. Breathe deep. The after effects of the whisky are invigorating through the nostrils, reminding one of the exhilaration of breathing richly oxygenated atmosphere of late autumn on the 45th parallel of the globe (where I happen to live).
Highland Park 18 is a mainstay in my cabinet. I have always taken pride in offering it to my guests (male and female) that have an appreciation for fine whisky. It has a little bit of everything for everyone. Even hardcore peat-heads will not turn up their noses at a glass of this magic!
For me, it is delightful any time of year. Indeed, the Eighteen holds its own with delicately balanced Japanese summery scotches and also the hearty full-bodied Islay scotches. One tip that I can offer in the selection of a bottle is this: look for the lightest color possible inside. Thankfully, the bottle is clear and provides an accurate window into the whisky inside, especially with its flat shape. Hold its broad side up to the light. Sometimes you can come across darker colored batches, which, in my estimation, are not quite as satisfying. When it comes to HP18, lighter is indeed better.