Scotch

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

highlandparkwhisky.com

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

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Review: Laphroaig 28-Year-Old

Ultra-aged expressions of Laphroaig can be some mighty fine whisky.  For 2018, the distillery has released a 28-year-old expression.  The whiskies that make up this expression have matured in different sized casks, from quarter casks to butts.  For the last year, they’ve been married together in sherry casks. Peated whisky in sherry casks? I’m sold.

Bottled at 44.4% ABV, Laphroaig 28-year-old has a fantastically interesting nose with hints of toffee, dried herbs, tropical fruit, anise, and cloves.  On the palate, fresh fruit juice and stewed pears are matched with toasted cedar staves, peppercorns, brine and grilled mushrooms.  The finish is long with sweet peat, grilled tropical fruit, and spice.

The Islay-based distillery has done it again. It’s released a carefully matured whisky showcasing some of its best qualities. This expensive ($799) bottle is a treasure trove of classic Laphroaig aromas and flavors delivered in droves. The tropical fruit and spice notes are prominent, as the famous medicinal-like notes come across in a more laid back fashion. Delicious. Yes. Expensive? Definitely. Worth it? If you can afford it. 9/10

www.laphroaig.com

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

Review: The Balvenie Peat Week 14-Year-Old Single Malt Whisky

US_Peat Week 14_bottle & tube small.jpg

The Balvenie is known for its honeycomb-led flavor profile.  One week a year, The Balvenie distills a heavily peated malt.  That week, known as Peat Week, leads us to this wonderful whisky.  Distilled back in 2002, this 14-year-old expression from the famed distillery utilizes only peated barley – no non-peated malt here.  That whisky matured in American oak casks.

In addition to being bottled at a modest 48.3% abv, Peat Week is also non-chill filtered.

Let’s dig in, shall we?

The nose is exactly what you’d expect.  Notes of honeyed malt, wood smoke, lemon peel, and sweet oak abound.  More of the same on the palate.  A quick explosion of rich, sweet honeycomb and vanilla followed by a wave of tempered smoke.  Some sautéed mushroom on the mid palate is accompanied by toffee and wood spice.  The finish is clean and lovely, with hints of burnt orange peel, toffee, and peat smoke.

I love this “heavy” side of The Balvenie.  I use the quotations for a reason.  The Balvenie’s standard profile is generally that a lighter style whisky, though it still has some richness.  The peat here is not heavy handed.  Rather, it nicely balances with that honeycomb nature generally found in The Balvenie.  Peat Week’s a great way to experience The Balvenie.  At $99 a bottle, this is an easy recommendation.  8.5/10

thebalvenie.com

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