...where distraction is the main attraction.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Highland Park 27 year old 1984 The Whisky Agency

(Highland Park cluster homepage)

Monday's '84 Highland Park was......not what I had expected. But I carry on. Sometimes I really carry on. Ask my family or anyone I've ever worked with. You see, I have opinions about things. And so does the man in charge of the My Annoying Opinions blog. He generously provided me with today's sample from a bottle he opened for his _ _ birthday. You know what I opened for my last birthday? MALÖRT. Which I shared with Randy Brandy. Actually this sounds like a good sample swap...

Distillery: Highland Park
Ownership: The Edrington Group
Region: Islands (Orkney)
Independent Bottler: The Whisky Agency
Range: Bugs. Seriously, Bugs. Beautiful labels.
Age: 27 years old (1984 - 2011)
Maturation: Bourbon hogshead
Outturn: 222 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 52.5%
(Many thank yous to My Annoying Opinions!)


The nose leads with ocean, cocoa, toasty oak and toasted nuts. Lemons and oranges. Wait, now I'm getting limes. And fresh basil leaf. Smoke arrives at the 45-minute mark, adding another great dimension. The elements merge well once the whisky is reduced to 46%abv. It gains some baking spices, but I find mostly nuts, malt and ocean, with a hint of grapefruit.

The palate has a stone fruit and salt combination that elicited from my face a sound, a wordless monosyllabic utterance that may have made passers-by turn their heads (and barf). A flawless balance of stones, sweetness, tartness and wood smoke arrives at the twenty minute mark, and remains for nearly an hour. Ocean notes and bitter herbs appear later, as does a white peach. At 46%abv, some more oak appears, but peaches and fresh apricots remain.

Its long finish holds dried leaves and dried grass, lemons, white peaches and a whiff of smoke. At 46%abv, the finish is simpler, a little earthier and sweeter perhaps.


Upon sniffing the whisky, I knew my recent streak of uninspiring whiskies was over. Yet I didn't think it was going to leap into 90-point territory. But then I actually tasted it, and yes it's excellent, especially when neat. The TWA folks dumped this cask at a great point, just as everything was in balance. If 25+ year old bourbon cask HPs were in my price range, this style is exactly what I'd seek out. Thank you, Mr. Opinions!

Availability - Secondary market?
Pricing - ???
Rating - 90