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This independent bottling of Highland Park was distilled on Nov. 30, 1995 and aged 19 years in an ex bourbon refill hogshead.
Upon opening initially, this whiskey was very closed. At that time, I tasted it among four other independent bottlings of ex-refill HP (three 19's and two 24s) and thought it was the worst. It was very closed, astringent and dry. But after only a few weeks it opened up beautifully. I now believe it is one of the best HP I've tasted, certainly the best 19 year old HP I've had.
What makes it so nice? It is heather, malt and hints of light brown sugar, each asserting itself with perfect energy, in perfect balance, light yet complex, refreshing and refined, somehow even delicate in a way.
The finish is long and slowly fading, with the heathery peat returning at the end and balancing a certain light bitterness that is not at all unpleasant.
Are you looking for the perfect 19 year old HP? This might be it. Just give it time after opening.