Highland Park 30

Distillery: Highland Park
Bottled: 2007
Age: 30 years old
ABV: 48.1%
Cask: American Oak and European Oak
More Info: WhiskyBase

Here’s the first of several 30-year-old whiskies I’m trying this year in the run up to my thirtieth birthday.

Highland Park endeavour to maintain the 25, 30 and 40 year-old expressions available as part of their core line-up with several different versions of each appearing over the years. This version, to my knowledge, is the most recent 30-year-old bottling and is still widely available.

Nose: Grassy and gristy, with honey-roast ham, sultanas and sea-spray. Some herbs and spices as well: cardamom, paprika, thyme, and mint.

Palate: Barley candy, spiced honey, tinned peaches with cinnamon; leading to a smoky mix of cacao, tobacco leaf and burnt coffee.

Finish: Very long and oaky with toasted hazelnuts.

Distinctively Highland Park’s flavour profile – gentle savoury smoke, a little saltiness, and some deep and rich malt and spice.

The time spent in barrel is very apparent here with a lot of the flavours coming directly from the wood. It’s not unpleasant at all but the oak is very much in-evidence. Though not made clear, my money’s on a vatting of bourbon-matured spirit with some refill sherry butts.

Personally, I would’t buy one of these. There are some sensational indy bottlings of Highland Park out there for a lot less money and I’m not convinced the age is bringing anything special to the table in this case.

I do like it, though – it’s refined and restrained with the flavours coming out slowly and gently. A quiet sipper and contemplater for special occasions.

This is at the higher end of Highland Park’s core expressions, with bottles going for £400 on their online shop. You can also get 3cl samples of the Highland Park 30 on WhiskySite.nl for €19.99.

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