...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Highland Park 2010 New Make Spirit Drink

(Highland Park cluster homepage)

Though it's a pleasure to begin one of these clusters with some new make, I don't know the story behind this release. It's a mystery to me why Highland Park sold it, and it's a mystery to me why they stopped selling it. But it was a real thing! I was so excited to find out it existed that I bought up 40% of a split of one of the skinny 350mL bottles.

As I'd mentioned in the series opener, the distillery does about 30% of its own malting on site. As of last year that in-house malt was significantly peated (30-40ppm). Were the 2010 specs the same? Is this new make from that peaty malt, or from the unpeated sourced malt, or a mix of the two? I may or may not find out right now...

pic source

Distillery: Highland Park
Ownership: The Edrington Group
Region: Kirkwall, Orkney
Distillation date: February 2010
Age: New
Maturation: in the bottle
Alcohol by Volume: 50%
Chillfilltered? Probably not
Colorant added? Highly doubtful
(from a bottle split)

The nose begins with anise and a woodsy peat smoke. The smoke becomes mossier and chalkier with time. Hints of dark chocolate and rosewater appear around the edges.

It's a mouthful of cigarette smoke, slivovitz and bitter chocolate. There's a little bit of complexity to it, with a grassy/hay side, bitter citrus peel and lemon candy.

It has a real finish with smoke and earth up front, dried herbs and bitter cocoa in the back.

This was much smokier than I'd expected even considering the current onsite malting specs. I dare say it may even be too peaty, with the smoke (possibly) hiding some fruitier elements. Had this been a blind tasting, I would have guessed this came from Islay. Because of its powerful style, the new make is well served by its 50%abv bottling strength. 70%abv would have been punishing.

Apparently the distillery itself currently sells a newer 350mL 50%abv new make. If you've had it, let us know in the comments what you thought of it. In the meantime, I'm going to keep the rest of my portion on hand for future tastings.

Rating - 82

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