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Jürgen Vromans hardly needs an introduction, I think. In a few years’ time he has grown from a friendly and helpful fellow that you could hire to help at whiskyfestival (hence the name Whisky Mercenary) to an excellent bottler with a nose for good whisky. A good thing: he remained friendly and helpful. His new release is a 20 Year Old Highland Park, found in the warehouses of the famous Gordon & Macphail. It became a so-called Exclusive bottling. Jürgen decided to cut it to 50%. A straw colored HP.
Surprisingly creamy nose with loads of pears on syrup, mashed banana, apricots and even some pineapple. If I did not know better, I would think this was a sherry cask. Some menthol disguises the earthy notes, that linger underneath. Some peat is present as well. Slowly but surely the sweetness recedes to make room for more farmy notes. This is very good. I could keep smelling this.
But as I am writing tasting notes instead of nosing notes, I must sip it. Now it shows its true colors. A devil in disguise! Such and elegant nose and then such a powerhouse in the palate. Citrus plays the lead part, followed by white fruit. The sherry influences on the nose returns on the palate. Apricots and grapefruit kick in. But the woodsmoke, peat and oak give it a depth that I can really appreciate. Midpalate it goes back to sugared lemon peel with loads of spices. Some menthol lifts the whole. A surprising hint of plasticine at the back of the throat. It becomes dangerously quaffable from the second sip.
The finish is wonderfully long and smoked, sugard lemon peel. Excuse me? Yup.
What a party! But beware! This devil in disguise goes down far too easy. Price: 139 EUR. Thank you, Jürgen, for the sample.