...but an excellent one! It is nice to know it is a Highland Park but to be honest, this could be any malt from any tier-1 distillery. The sherry flavours are powerful and excellent with not the slightest off-note or imbalance but the malt is overwhelmed by these strong wine forces. Who cares if the result is that delicious? Great stuff to quaff!
The colour is extremely dark at brown sherry and the nose offers (out of a big spherical blender's glass) an old oloroso profile in the best tradition of these flabbergasting mid-sixties fat sherry casks. Still there are some distant whiffs of malt-induced aromas to detect but it is almost impossible to identify any of them. So this could be of the malts with a powerful backbone that can withstand even the heaviest sherry maturations (like Glen Grant, Glenfarclas, Talisker or in this case Highland Park). Great stuff to sniff, no doubt.
The taste is multi-layered with sherry flavours in the driver's seat and the wooden notes right at their side. The stays in the fond but it dares to show up from time to time which is great. No flaw or off-note to detect, this is extremely delicious (except for the malt flavours) a nicely balance sherry / wooden mix. After some chewing dark chocolatey notes pop up and the spices are getting stronger. Some water turns both nose and palate more punchy and a bigger reduction flattens the dram. I like it best when neat.
The initial mouthfeel is nice with a warming and creamy texture covering all parts of my mouth within seconds. There are some minor bitter-drying moments like so often with these heavy sherry maturations but in this context they are not distracting and rather welcome to counter the sweet winey impressions. The finish is long and adds more herbal notes and impressions of tea or tobacco leaves which turns the end more to the bitter side without getting unpleasant. The dryness stays under control, so no distracting moments here either.