Highland Park 25 yo 1988/2013 (55.7%, Cadenhead, small batch, sherry butts, 1086 bottles) Five stars
From the much talked-about new 'black' series by Mark Watt. Elegantly old school, squat bottle, black label and even this legendary very 'Cadenhead' mention: "matured in oak" (they ran out of cedarwood, I imagine). Even the round logo and the gold hint at HP's old official labels, but that wasn't done of purpose of course as the whole series has it.
Nose: a big, phat, slightly flinty and smoky sherry at first nosing, with quite a lot of coffee to match the robe. It's almost as old-school as the packaging! Goes on with roasted chestnuts, pecan pie straight from the oven and maybe touches of bacon and big black raisins, say Corinthians. A timeless nose so far.
With water: classic figs, raisins, dates and other dried fruits. Perfect.
Mouth (neat): heavy, big, not pungent though, quite smoky again and rather perfectly leathery as well as slightly sappy/resinous. Also cloves and cumin plus black pepper, chestnut honey (big time! it's a very powerful honey if you don't know it) and then the very classic fruitcake and raisins notes. Big stuff indeed.
With water: perfect again, there's even a nice grapey touch (and prunes) that makes you think of some good old armagnac. A lovely honey too as well as quite some caramelised peanuts - that part never stops growing.
Finish: very long and it would remain clean and tidy. The coffee returns in the aftertaste, and so does the armagnac.
Comments: wham! This could have been bottled for Silvano Samaroli, Eduardo Giaccone or Nadi Fiori thirty years ago. Honest.
SGP:563 - 92 points