By: David Othenin-Girard
K&L Staff Member
This superb single barrel of Highland Park represents one of the greatest values we've ever offered. We work hard last year to get the price down of a single cask of 20 year old HP also from a refill hogshead and that one sold for a cool $200. The great HP flood began nearly 3 years ago when I got an email from a supplier in Scotland offering us a parcel of THOUSANDS of Highland Park barrels at between 12-18 years old. I nearly choked on my morning coffee as a read the email. They wanted millions for the lot. While I briefly considered pitching the idea to our owners, I ultimately decided that we'd never be able to handle these quantities at our stores. So over the last couple of years we've watched as small lots of HP have popped up at bottlers across Scotland. Most had paid a premium to brokers for the prized malt. We weren't prepared to indulge them, unless they were superfluously good, like the Old Particular from last year. When we commit to a barrel everything needs to come into place - the flavor, the price, the packaging. It's gotta tick all the boxes. This is one of those whiskies. While not as heady or sherried as the OP, the purity and overt deliciousness of this cask is profound. The sweet and salt Orkney malt is vibrant and layered but somehow restrain on the nose. Flecks of oyster shell, lemon balm, earthy malt, honeysuckle and white pepper. On the palate that gorgeous Orkney peat pops up. Pristine and oceanic, without the iodine of Islay and something floral behind (heather of course). It's pretty thick on the palate- oily, camphor, more pepper, bitter oranges, and green teas. Long and lingering. With water the nose opens and the lemon becomes more prominent. The sweet malt falls away and more peat for some reason. All in all I'm not sure there's a better way to spend $100 right now in the store.