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About 3 months ago my brother was on a trip to Russia for a contract proposal and before he left he asked me if there was anything in particular that i would like for him to keep on eye out for. Being a big fan of the Highland Park 18 i had read about the 21 Year travel retail exclusive (the 47.0% one) and thought that this would be a great chance to get my hands on it. A week later upon his return he pulled out a bottle of Highland Park Vintage 1991 bottled in 2012 and purchased for approximately $170 AUD duty free. Not quite what i had planned but still i guess it is a 21 Year old highland Park!
Bottled at 40.0%, the tin states that it is a uniquely smooth, balanced single malt, with a sweet yet spicy flavour and a lingering smokey finish. According to the back the spirit is matured in sherry oak casks from spain.
hmmm well judging by the colour of this whisky there is some sherry but refill I am guessing if its been in there for 21 years.
Anyways on to the tasting! These notes are compiled after 2 months being opened and 7/8 's full.
Nose (23): Initially quite sweet on the nose, candied orange and christmas spices overlaying BBQ meat, definitely pork. Wrapping all this is a subtle peat which just kind of ingrains itself in the other flavours. If you dig a bit more there are some bourbon cask elements of vanilla and cloves. Beautiful nose and very interesting array of flavours.
Palate (21): On the palate i get sweet flavours, sugared lemon and orange drops. This citrus note continues but now the sweetness is replaced by a rolling peat and spicy smoke. Very nice flavours, richness is there from the longer maturation but it is slightly underpowered. What is disappointing is that it is missing that lovely oily or rich mouth feel that would take this to another level. Very drinkable though
Finish (21): The first flavour that hits me is a sweet lemon and honey flavour which quickly transforms into that rolling peat smoke that was evident on the palate and coats the back of my cheeks, some spiciness on the tongue. This flavour unfortunately fades quite quickly but the spices linger. After one or two sips I do get some bitterness in the back of my mouth.
Balance (21): The balance is good but there are some notes that just don't quite sit. The citrus turns a bit bitter on the finish and the lack of natural oils just seems to remove that nice flavour integration that some other whiskies have. The finish is
Total of 86
Hmm ok, so it is a very easy drinking whisky, lovely nose and nice flavours. Just disappointed considering that its a 21 Year highland park and for that price there are many other bottles that i would buy before this again. As always this at >45% and un-chill filtered would make all the difference.