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I am on my second bottle of Highland Park 12yr, and I have tasted HP 18yr a couple times. Obviously I enjoy the 12yr, but I find the 18yr to be head and shoulders above the 12yr. The 18yr has an incredible balance of sweet smoke, that really makes it stand out. I ordered this sample of the Highland Park 25yr from Master of Malt, and am very excited to get my first taste! This whisky is bottled at 48.1%, and is full gold in color.
Nose: The nose on this whisky is incredibly rich! Very aromatic. I am getting some smoky notes, a lot of candy-apple caramel, and ripe fruits! There is a real complexity here. I am not even going to be able to get close to fully describing this nose! It has a real depth to its character. Cloves. Cinnamon. That sweet fruit is coming out again! Peaches, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Apple pie crust. Peach cobbler baking in a dutch oven over hot coals! At the same time, this is a 48.1% ABV whisky, so there is definitely a pretty 'warm' aroma reminding you this is not just cake in a glass, but a whisky! There are more orange-citrus notes coming out as the glass empties. Bitter chocolate.
Palate: Pretty warm in the mouth. Not as fruity as the nose. Lots of warm, spicy notes. A bit drying in the mouth. Still, it has some sweetness to it that is delightful.
Finish: Oh wow! The fruit comes back in spades, and the finish is long and spicy! Pepper, cinnamon, and cloves are just some of the spices that come out! The smoke is not as present as it is in the 18yr, but there is a hint of smoke in the back.
This is a really delicious malt, giving me an overload on sensations! Truly, I am having a moderate level of difficulty in identifying everything I am getting from this dram. Perhaps if I were to get to the bottom of a 70cl bottle, I could more effectively communicate what all this whisky has in store for you. As I do not have a full bottle, I am left to suffer through this experience, grasping at what just overloaded my senses!
Rest assured, if you enjoy complex whiskies with an incredible depth and balance, and like a warm, spicy peach cobbler of a dram, this one just might be for you!
I have no idea how much HP 25yr goes for, but it would be well worth any price. This is just delightful! Spicy pepper exploding over a hint of smoke while ripe fruits of an assorted variety are served up front. Delicious...
Ok, I just looked up the approximate bottle price here in the U.S. for HP 25yr: $275-$299. That's a lot of coin, if you ask me. In fact, that's a WHOLE LOT of coin! I don't have any bottles that cost that much, with only a VERY few getting anywhere near it. I'm not sure it is worth the extra $200 over the HP 18yr, as it is also a fantastic malt. However, as I sit here looking at my now empty glass, I am beginning to think $275 isn't really THAT expensive... ;)
I am tempted to give this whisky 9.5 stars. It has great depth, a fantastic nose, a delightful palate, and an exceptional finish. Perhaps the mouth COULD be better, but I am really stretching it. Simply fantastic. If you ever come across a bottle under $200, BUY IT! It is delicious.