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Friday, September 17, 2021

Concluding the Highland Park cluster

This cluster wore me out. The comparisons were enlightening, and (even more importantly) I am not sick of Highland Park. This was also a good way to battle my significant Whisky Attention Deficit Disorder. But, still, the cluster structure feels a bit rigid. There's no room for improv nor inspiration. And I did miss all the other things. 

I'm going to recap and retire this cluster with some snippets of info. Since I have a decent sample size on hand, I'm going to analyze the data set using my always-consistent made-up scores!

Total Highland Parks - 28
Mean - 85.39
Median - 86
Mode - 90


There was no easy way to split this group by age, especially since seven of the whiskies were 18 years old. Had I split them at the 20 year mark, the distance between the average score of the two categories would have widened. Even if I'd dropped the highest and lowest score for each column, the difference would have remained the same. Older Highland Park scored better.

It's a dead heat! The bourbon casks had the highest (91) and lowest (70) ratings in the set. But the key is that 70-point Old Malt Cask. For these numbers, I guessed it was from a bourbon cask, as it had many bourbon notes on the nose. Were it a sherry cask, then the bourbon cask set would have been slightly stronger. (Also, this group does not include the unaged HP.)

Another near tie. The OB scores had a tighter range and a smaller standard deviation than the indies. One could chalk that up to the variety between single casks.

The 1984 OMC wrecked the average for the '70s & '80s. Without that whisky, that group's average was nearly 89. With that one in the mix, the average scores between decades aren't that dissimilar, which is good news for those of us who can only afford 21st century Highland Park.

The official bottlings that fell below 50%abv were MUCH better than those above 50%abv, and that's what pushed the lightest category into first place. The violent style of the young sherry bombs resulted in the third column's low scores.

I get High-land Park with a little help from my friends.

Twenty-eight different whiskies averaging out to a B grade qualifies as a very nice thing. That this happened with Highland Park is not a big surprise. The distillery's whiskies vary style — a little more sherry influence here, more smoke there, some ocean, some farm, bit of fruit, etc. — but the usual result is at least very good, and I think the HPs in this cluster bear that out.

One more round of thank yous go out to my friends who donated samples to this effort! As you can see in that last table, those whiskies made a difference. Now I'm going to take a break from clusters for a short while in order to catch up on all the other things.

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