Highland Park 34 yo 1974/2008 (41.5%, OB, Ambassador’s Cask #5, cask #8845, 228 bottles) From a refill sherry hogshead. I already had the other Ambassador’s 1974, the 33yo cask #9035 and thought it was great (WF92). Colour: full amber. Nose: fantastic at first nosing, so full yet elegant and very ‘polished’. Exactly this moment when the mingling of the spirit with the oak create a true third dimension, as in other majestic old spirits such as cognac or rum. First we have mainly honeycomb, figs and quinces coated with mint, eucalyptus and pine resin, the whole then bursting into myriads of secondary and tertiary aromas such as wax polish, hessian, tobacco, mushrooms (both fresh and dried), pipe tobacco, prunes… Then more tar, peat and liquorice, a tad heavier but never ‘too much’. Gets finally frankly balsamic (more pine resin, also turpentine, camphor, thuja wood…) Mouth: starts spicy and fairly tannic but with enough dried fruits and other honeyed bits to back it up. Develops on an obvious citrusy zestiness (orange peel, dried tangerines) and quite some tar and peat, just as in the nose. Quite some pepper too, a little curry and finally quite some cinnamon and a little nutmeg. Classic. Finish: long for its strength, with more liquorice and quite some mint in the aftertaste, as often with these oldies. Comments: I think this one is (well, was) a good example of what ‘good’ oak can do to a fine distillate. Sure it’s rather oaky, but what a wonderful oakiness. SGP:462 - 91 points.