was gracious enough to send me several premium samples of Highland Park, and now that the current round of the Scottish Distillery Tour has concluded I figured that this is the perfect time to review them. So this will be part one of a four part HP review.
The Fire Edition was fully matured exclusively in ex port casks for 15 years, rather than a port finish that typically only lasts 1-2 years. Bottled at 45.2% ABV, natural color of an amber with a reddish hue, and I have a feeling that it is chill filtered.
The nose starts with sweet cinnamon candy. It’s Red Hots all the way, the chewy ones. Spicy oak with fruity port notes. Dark berries, caramel apples, plums, oranges, figs and a very light lemon citrus. Cinnamon chocolate, vanilla, toffee, maple syrup. A light coffee/mocha note. More cinnamon and a soft mint note. You’ll notice I didn’t mention peat or smoke. That’s because there really isn’t any to speak of. I know HP is known for light peating, but this is ridiculous.
The palate has a very strange arrival. It’s a strong and distinct flavor that for the life of me I cannot put into words. It’s maddening! Here’s what I can describe. Cinnamon and lots of it. Vanilla, milk chocolate, white chocolate. Slightly bitter red grapes, blueberries, raspberries. Warm oak, toffee and caramel. A touch of pepper and, what’s this...is it smoke? Yes, finally the barest trace of smoke, hidden underneath 8 pounds of cinnamon.
Light to medium bodied mouthfeel, oily, creamy and mouth coating.
The finish is strange. Some sips it disappears in a flash, other times it lingers for 10 minutes or more. Cinnamon is the predominant note on the finish, but there is also a little mint and a nondescript fruitiness.
This is a strange beast to be sure. Normally when you hear port maturation you think super sweet fruits and a thick mouthfeel. This is all cinnamon with the fruits playing second chair French horn. It’s also very non-HP with hardly any peat smoke and none of the tropical fruits I’ve come to expected. It really feels like a Glenmorangie experiment, but one that works fairly well. I like it. Now, is it $300 good? No, certainly not, but it’s still HP and they tend to command these prices lately. This is a 3.5-3.75, but I’m going to round up to 4 because of its uniqueness. Thanks for the sample Lee.