There are 2 batches of this release, both for Ferraretto and only distinguishable if held against one another, but then the difference is easily distinguishable.
One is darker and peatier and also more rare and expensive (sold for 2500 Euro this year). The reviews here all seem to be for the regular version.
here the 2 versions compared on the Malt Maniacs Monitor (the dark version got 94, 95 and 96 points, the regular version considerably lower):
Here the 2 versions compared on whiskyfun. Dark version:
Highland Park 18yo 1960/1978 (43%, OB, James Grant, green dumpy, black label, dark vatting, 75cl) Darker than the ‘regular’ version of the 18/60, which is amber. Colour: mahogany. Nose: this version is unexpectedly less rich and deep than the 17yo but also more phenolic, almost a little metallic. Quite some gingerbread, tonic, fresh putty, peat, then cured ham, eucalyptus honey, a little camphor, hints of encaustic, leather polish, even motor oil. At the fruits department we have grapefruits, tamarind and dried figs… The whole is very different from the 17yo indeed, but as for which one is the nicest, it’s impossible to make up our mind – yet. Mouth: we’re much closer to the 17yo now, except that there’s rather more honey and more peat besides all the dried fruits and jams. Becomes more and more phenolic, with an almost big peatiness. As much peat as in very old Laphroaigs, as if HP’s peat didn’t ‘mutate’ as much as Laphroaig’s through the years. Amazingly good whisky for sure. Finish: a tad drier than the 17yo’s but similar in style. A tad waxier as well. Comments: one of the peatiest Highland Parks I ever tried as far as I can remember. Brilliant again. SGP:565 – 94 points.
Highland Park 18 yo 1960/1978 (43%, OB, ‘James Grant green dumpy’) Colour: cognac. Nose: very complex, growing very coastal and rather smoky. Great notes of sea air and crystallised fruits, honey and heather. Rather light in fact but really complex. Embrocations, camphor, sweet Chinese sauce, soy sauce… Very nice indeed. Mouth: rather creamy, punchier than expected. Very interesting notes of smoked meat, resins, camphor, dried fruits… Also some ‘arranged rum’ (with pineapple juice). Very, very good, even if perhaps a little less complex than the other ‘HP green dumpies’ I had before. The finish is long, though, just slightly bitter. Anyway, an excellent old official Highland Park again! 92 points (thanks Olivier)
Both reviews (c) Serge Valentin.