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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Highland Park 11 year old 2003 Hart Brothers

On Monday I reviewed an eight year old independently bottled Highland Park. Today, it's an eleven year old indie HP. I've had a handful of Hart Brothers' bottlings and have enjoyed none of them. They even ruined a Littlemill. Such is my opinion of them that I passed up a number of otherwise gorgeous-looking Hart Bros bottlings (including this Ledaig) when I was in Japan last year.

But I like bourbon cask Highland Park and MAO sent me a sample of this one, so I'll go into this tasting as bias-free as possible.

Distillery: Highland Park
Ownership: The Edrington Group
Region: Isle of Orkney
Independent Bottler: Hart Brothers
Age: 11 years old (2003-2015)
Maturation: ex-bourbon cask
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfiltered? probably not
Caramel Colorant? probably not

It has a very pale color. A good sign! The nose says this is another youngin'. Apples and pears. Wort. Hints of moss and pine sap. Honeydew and canned peaches. Vanilla-scented soap. The palate starts of fruity and mossy, too. Pineapple, apple and a hint of mango. It's also a bit ashy. With time, it grows sweeter and tarter, then vanilla rushes in. It finishes tangy and tingly. Limes, ash, vanilla and caramel. Some odd bitterness shows up late.

DILUTED TO ~40%abv
Mango, limes and sawdust in the nose. Limes, sugar and jalapeño oil on the palate. Sweet citrus and pepper in the finish.

I will cautiously say this is the best Hart Brothers whisky I've had so far. Though, as I mentioned in the intro, that's faint praise. The fruit notes are great. The ash, oak and finish are less than great. Despite the oak stuff, it feels even younger than Monday's 8yo G&M.

Overall, it's a fair example of naked seemingly-briefly-matured Highland Park. It does appear to still be lingering around the US, but it's priced higher than the official Highland Park 12yo. Go with the OB instead.

Availability - maybe a few US retailers
Pricing - around $60
Rating - 82