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Highland Park 4.168 - Gunpowder, Treason and Plot

My SMWS Epiphany

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@ChooksterReview by @Chookster

19th Mar 2013


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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15yo Highland Park aged in a refill sherry gorda. “Gunpowder, Treason & Plot” @57% ABV and 1/804 bottles.

To smell: different shades of butterscotch, dark brooding caramel, and maple syrup, all with volume turned up to 11. Honey and liquorice poked their heads up after some time in the glass. A slight hint of smoke sits behind the sweet notes, and as the name of the bottle suggests, I can’t help but be reminded of gunpowder, though I’d liken it to the smell of a cap gun charge.

To taste: Full and smoky in the mouth, once again reminiscent of gunpowder, but carrying the Highland Park 12’s sweet undertones. Eventually a metallic copper element joins the party (but not in a bad way - this was somehow an addition to the whisky) followed by a slight flaw; a 'sweaty' taste occasionally appeared every few drams on maybe 1 or 2 sips from the glass.

I fell in love with the nose of this whisky at the 2012 Sydney Whisky Fair, and it turned out to be the gateway dram to my fondness of SMWS bottlings, picking up this bottle on the day, as well as a free membership to the society. As one of my first cask strength bottlings the sweet nose so clearly, and without alcohol burn, jumped up my nose and warmed my heart at the same time. Sure it has its flaws and most certainly lacks a great deal of complexity, but finishing this bottle the other week sure was saddening to both me and my friend. What would usually be a low 80’s scoring whisky gains a handful of sentimentality points.

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