...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Highland Park 18 year old 1999 Gordon & MacPhail, cask 4256

(Highland Park cluster homepage)  

This is the third bourbon cask Highland Park from Gordon & MacPhail I'm reviewing this week, but it's not the last one in the cluster--

Okay, I'll just spoil things. I normally don't knock out all 2oz of a sample in one sitting, but it was a goddamned fuckin' day, and this whisky was perfect for a goddamned fuckin' day. No, not the sort of whisky to get shitty with, or with which to get shitty, but a whisky that hits every note right. Let's get to it, and if you bought a bottle of this, congratulations. May you open it on a goddamned fuckin' day.

Distillery: Highland Park
Ownership: The Edrington Group
Region: Islands (Orkney)
Independent Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Range: Connoisseurs Choice Cask Strength
Age: 18 years old (30 Aug 1999 - 18 May 2018)
Maturation: 1st fill bourbon barrel
Cask number4256
Outturn: 177 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 53.6%
(from a purchased sample)


Apricots, white nectarines, honey and a moment of light smoke start the nose and......just stay there for a good 20 minutes. Then comes a hint of mango, a whisper of musty oak, roses, apple skins and wet grasses. Diluted to 46%abv it's all fruit, flowers, broken stones and soil.

The palate begins with a grassy, almost floral, smoke. Peaches and yellow plums. Hints of bandages and sea salt. Then it slowly develops a bright bitterness, and note of smoky grilled chiles. When reduced to 46%abv, the whisky becomes intensely mineral, which I didn't realize was a thing until now. It's a bit earthy and bitter, with hints of roses and vanilla beans, and lots of tart limes.

Tart lemons join floral peaches in a finish that has a long dusty, briny, smoky fade out. At 46%abv, there's earth, stone and bitterness to go with a splash of peach juice.


Because I'm a Gen Xer I feel like this is the place to throw a GIF or a meme or ironic emoji. But I'll save all of those for other reviews. One may find a more complex Highland Park (likely with a higher age statement), but this is precise, graceful whisky selected and bottled at the perfect strength. It motivates me to continue this cluster.

Availability - Probably sold out
Pricing - it was €130-€140 maybe?
Rating - 90