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Highland Park Stairway to Orkney 12 Year Old 2006 McShelfie


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@markjedi1Review by @markjedi1

22nd Jun 2019


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Stairway to Orkney? Whoever thought that up, should get a medal. After all, this is a club bottling for McShefie, who have a staircase in their logo. Well done! And make no mistake, it’s a unique whisky. Dutch bottler 3006 Whisky released a ‘Secrets of Okney’ last autumn – to be found at on the world famous whiskybase under 118359 – but our Belgian friends had him transfer 50 liters to a first fill oloroso octave, on which is was allowed to mature for another 7 months.

The nose is stunning! Some typical maritime Highland Park notes – oops, am I even allow to say that? – with a lovely sweetness from the sherry cask. Very herbal as well. Reminds me somewhat of burnt wood and wild ferns. There is even a hint of incense and dark beer. I imagine myself sniffing a caramel bar on a rocky coast, next to a smoldering fire pit (Mark, seriously? Yup).

The sherry took of the hard edges of this high alcoholic powerhouse. It is still a kick to the teeth, but water is not needed. Typical HP smoke development, rather heathery instead of maritime, with mildly burnt caramel and some green notes. Okay… more or less what the nose promised, so no surprises there. But who wants to be surprised when it’s this good?

The finish is very long, starts sweet and then gets a bitter edge, but ends in a soft spiciness.

It is young, it is powerful, it is unbridled tumultuous, but that is part of its charm. The 70 bottles sold out very quickly. Pity that I missed it. Hence, Patrick, thanks a lot for the very generous sample!

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