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Thursday, August 19, 2021

Highland Park 22 year old 1990 AD Rattray, cask 577

(Highland Park cluster homepage)

Let's bid the '90s adieu with today's sherry butt from the AD Rattray folks. I'm not sure what my expectations are for this whisky. ADR has had awful sherry casks and excellent sherry casks. This particular liquid has a moderate gold tint (ignore the terrible pic below), so perhaps it wasn't a dead butt, and perhaps it won't be ultra-tannic. Perhaps I'll just be moderately geeked for this.

Distillery: Highland Park
Ownership: The Edrington Group
Region: Islands (Orkney)
Independent Bottler: A.D. Rattray
Age: 22 years old (3 December 1990 - 17 April 2013)
Maturation: sherry butt
Cask number577
Outturn: 565 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 58.1%
(from a purchased sample)


The nose has so much burn that I have to leave it alone for 30 minutes. After that I find toasted nuts and Corn Nuts. Ocean and caramel. Hints of flower blossoms and Chambord. There's also some butterscotch and apricot, but one has to plow through the heat to find it. Diluted to 46%abv, the whisky is more navigable. Green apples, dried apricots and vanilla pudding up front, toasted oak in the back.

The palate is very hot and very salty. Limes, raspberries and cayenne pepper fill in the midground. Winey tannins in the background. Again, it's more accessible at 46%abv. It's still peppery, salty and tart, but there are some new sweeter apple notes. It's more dusty than smoky.

My notes for the finish match those of the palate. At 46%abv, it's all black pepper and sweet apples.


This one underwhelmed, especially compared to the Highland Parks that precede and follow it in this cluster. It reads like a second- or third-fill butt that was not re-seasoned like many "refill" sherry butts today. It's reminiscent of those brutal green glass Cadenheads from days of yore, not in terms of quality, but in terms of burn. Once diluted, it's more comfy, but never more than that, reading like something that could have gone into a batch of Famous Grouse. For a different angle. see the Whiskybase community's enthusiasm.

Availability - Long gone
Pricing - ???
Rating - 82 (diluted only)