Highland Park 1999 16 year old. Gordon & MacPhail TWE Exclusive
First-Fill bourbon barrel
Non chill filtered
No added colouring
£79.95 from The Whisky Exchange
First sniff from the pour brings quite an amount of citrus and tropical fruits forward. Lemon, mango, grapefruit, pineapple, all very fresh and juicy. Second sniff and some light dry smokiness comes in, grilling the fruit quite deliciously. Subsequent sniffs get drier and introduce some chalky mineral notes to the mix. After a few minutes standing fruit retains the fore, lots of juicy, sweet citrus, some orange now, a touch of melon also added in. A delicious fruit cocktail. Light smoke wafts in and out, and a slightest liquorice and ginger in the background. A lovely nose.
A big fruity explosion complete with smoke aplenty on the arrival, quickly becoming vanilla intense, with custardy notes accompanying the fruit cocktail. Smoke wonders in and out during the development, with touches of ginger ale, liquorice root and a bitter touch of grapefruit skin. A deliciously evolving palate, which changes as you sip and sit. Later sips have more smokiness and touches of charred oak during the development and into the finish.
Barbecued pineapple rings, grapefruit and smoke holds in the mouth for a medium to long length finish. Later sips give more charred oak.
A few drops added into a half dram (although I would happily finish this one undiluted). The nose has become dustier and more intense. Fruit is livelier and riper. The smoke elements are more floral and waxy, almost a floral aromatherapy candle is burning brightly with intense flame. Oh yeah, even more waxiness evident on the palate now, this dram is shocked into a higher state of being with a few drops of water, loads of big, explosive, waxy fruit, smoke is almost silenced, but it’s sweet residue is still lingering. The finish slowly fades from the intense palate, the bittersweet elements of grapefruit previously found in the undiluted is gone, this is now well balanced all the way through.
It’s an evolving dram which changes very frequently and is quite fascinating to spend time with. Deliciously fruity, sometimes smoky, sometime mineral and herbal. It’s highland park at its best in single cask form. With water, it becomes total brilliance, absolutely beautiful stuff. On my shopping list. Very recommended.
Many thanks to Speciality Drinks for the review sample