...and my taste buds are with the experts! This is a perfect double maturation with the port impact extremely balanced to the Highland Park profile. A Traditional Scotch style malt at its best - and it is dangerously quaffable.
The colour is old gold and I use a big spheric blender's glass to nose it (never drink out of these glasses because the whisky tastes dull, they are intended for nosing only). Right after serving the typical fat Highland Park profile develops with honeys, heather flowers, waxes, herbs (camphor, melissa) and distant whiffs of smoke. After some breathing the port shows up with sour and fruity aromas (peaches). All very balanced and without any off-note. Later chalky-mineral and earthy notes join in that remind me a little of old dunnage warehouses. Hey, this is a very fine nose!
The taste is nicely layered and starts - contrary to the nose - with the sour-sweet winey flavours but some bitter-herbal wooden notes strike back very soon. Then the fruits jump in (oranges, peaches, berries) supported by delicious molten barley sugars to turn the taste back sweet again. But waxes, oils and earthy flavours save the balance with more umami notes. This is both complex and delicious, I really enjoy both to explore and to quaff this dram.
The initial mouthfeel is warming and instantly coats the whole of the mouth with a creamy texture. No distracting bitter or drying moments here. The finish is long and adds some more bitter notes of tea and herbs (eucalyptus?) without harming the fine balance of the profile. Again no bitter or drying moments, this was bottled at the perfect time (compliments to Cadenhead for this!). Water turns the nose even bolder and the taste more quaffable but the layers are gone now. I like to explore this dram neat and enjoy to drink it both neat and a little reduced.