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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Highland Park 26 year old 1977 Hart Brothers

(Highland Park cluster homepage)

I feel like I'm limping across the finish line for this cluster. Part of the exhaustion is due to life and all the things. Part of it is 28 Highland Parks, with only a pair of brief breaks. Part of it is oh my god it's only Tuesday as I type this?

This cluster comes to a close with, no, not a Cadenhead dumpy nor one of those official single cask monsters from the early 1970s, but a Hart Brothers 1977 that passed through a sherry cask's innards at some point. What, you expected something sexy? What makes this blog sexy is its lack of sexiness. Yeah, that's the ticket.

The good news about this one is that, unlike the 1978, the Bros didn't water it down to 43%abv. They let it live at 46%abv. Perhaps they had a change in philosophy between 1996 and 2004.

Distillery: Highland Park
Ownership: The Edrington Group
Region: Islands (Orkney)
Independent Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Range: Finest Collection
Age: 26 years old (November 1977 - September 2004)
Maturation: "Sherry finish"
Outturn: ????
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
(from a bottle split)


Those nose is woody, but nicely so. Slightly toasted and kinda musty, like someone I know. But there's also plenty of ocean brine, fried plantains and roasted nuts. Maybe a hint of caramel to go with those plantains. After 30-ish minutes, a good combo of lime, burlap and coastal smoke arrives. The whisky changes a bit when reduced to 43%abv, with lemon, melon and basil up front; coal smoke in the back. Very mild overall.

Smoke, cayenne pepper, lemon and milk chocolate lead off the palate. The tannins roll right up to the too-much line without crossing it. With time in the glass, the whisky develops a slight medicinal note, which goes well with a solid mix of lemon candy and cayenne. The palate gets sweeter at 43%abv, while losing the citrus and gaining salt and bitterness.

The finish carries a moderate sweetness up front, from its citrus and honey, and a little bit of white pepper and acidity in the background. Diluted to 43%abv, the whisky finishes woodier, just holding onto the sweet citrus.


This Highland Park feels old school. It's not just the slightly creaky cask(s), nor its somewhat dusty quality; rather the sherry finish doesn't feel slathered on top, instead it's part of the whole. It's also a good thing the whisky was given those three extra alcohol points because it was collapsing as I reduced it, and may not have stood up to 17 years in a bottle. It's a good whisky, not tremendous, but a well made drink I'd be happy to pour at any time.

Availability - ???
Pricing - ???
Rating - 88 (neat only)

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