Highland Park

Review: Highland Park 30-year-old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Photo courtesy of Highland Park

I get to taste lots of wonderful whiskies. Sometimes, a whisky on my “must taste” list comes across my sample table. I can now scratch Highland Park 30-year-old off that list.

Aged at least three long decades in mostly first-fill Spanish and American oak sherry casks as well as refill casks, Highland Park 30 utilizes the distillery’s traditional 20% peated / 80% unpeated spirit. That peat is from Orkney and carries the distillery’s signature aromatic heather note. It’s bottled at 45.7% ABV and not colored.

The nose is dark and sweet, with hints of dark toffee, dried figs, nutmeg, cocoa, and some citrus. Taste-wise, Highland Park 30 carries some weight. This is not a light summer whisky. It’s oily, with hints of dark toffee, roasted nuts and dried fruit while being imbued with rancio and Highland Park’s heathery peat smoke. There’s a touch of baking spice and old oak heading into the long finish. There are lingering notes of dark fruit, spice, peat, and oak.

This whisky is stunning… simply stunning. For carrying such a high age statement, Highland Park 30-year-old still has a bit of vibrancy in the form of come citrus that helps cut through the darker, heavier notes. This rich and decadent whisky comes at an equally high price. A bottle will cost you $900. I’d better start saving.



Thanks to Highland Park for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review: Highland Park Valnut

HP-2018-Valknut-Hero-Bottle+Carton-750ml-CMYKHighland Park has just released Valknut, the sequel to last year’s Valkyrie.  The distillery has partnered with Danish designer Jim Lyngvild to design the packaging.

As for the whisky itself, it’s said to be a “bolder, more intense style of Highland Park,” according to press materials.  The whisky was mostly matured in American  sherry seasoned casks.  Additionally, this expression features a slightly higher phenolic level than Valknut and was partially made from Orkney-grown tartan barley.  Valknut has been bottled at 46.8% ABV and is available for $80.

Love the nose here.  It’s vibrant and aromatic, with hints of toffee, toasted almonds, vanilla, herbs, and heather.  Taste-wise, Valknut is sweet, herbal, and a touch spicy.  A small wave of vanilla pod develops into cloves and spice, which becomes a bit dry and slightly leathery.  A nice smokiness becomes a bit bolder, especially towards the long finish.  In fact, those spice and heather notes ramp us as well.

I like it, but tend to prefer Highland Park Valkyrie.  I think that expression is a bit more sherry cask-driven and balanced than Valknut.  It simply has more going on.  The nose is fantastic, but it falls a bit short on the palate compared to Valkyrie.  That said, Valknut is a great choice for those looking for an aromatic and spicy whisky. 7.5/10


Thanks to Highland Park for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review: Highland Park The Light Single Malt Whisky

Celebrating the summer solstice, Highland Park crafted the limited edition The Light. The 17-year-old single malt matured in refill bourbon casks, a stark contrast from its sibling, The Dark, which matured in first-fill sherry casks.

To say I thoroughly enjoyed The Dark is an understatement. It remains one of my favorite single malts of the past year, if not the past few years. The whisky is a perfect wintertime pour with its dried fruits, spice, and overall richness.

With its refill bourbon cask maturation, The Light is meant to be enjoyed in warmer weather. The nose on The Light is vibrant and zesty, with hints of lemon peel, vanilla, and honey sitting alongside the distillery’s signature heathery peat. A floral top note adds to the mix. The palate stays close to the nose with initial notes of honey, vanilla bean, and lemon custard. Heather and a light dose of earthiness develop mid-palate. A light smokiness sits in the background throughout. Herbs and soft bittersweet dark chocolate notes reveal themselves towards the back-palate as does slightly astringent oak. The finish is long, bittersweet, citrusy, and a touch smoky.

While The Light is the complete opposite of The Dark, the Highland Park DNA runs through both releases with familiar honey and heather notes. The use of refill bourbon casks allow for the distillate to shine, whereas sherry casks sort of define The Dark’s aroma and flavor. I like that The Light isn’t necessarily a sweet malt. Those bittersweet and herbaceous notes balance things out nicely.

The Light is another enjoyable release from Highland Park, giving fans another side of the distillery’s releases that are typically sherry cask-matured. Priced the same as The Dark at about $300, The Light comes highly recommended. 8.5/10


Thanks to Highland Park for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.