...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Highland Park 10 year old 2001 Gordon & MacPhail, cask 2998

(Highland Park cluster homepage) 

Gordon & MacPhail, grandpa of independent whisky bottling, is one of the few bottlers who are still allowed to call their Highland Park releases "Highland Park," so we don't have all half-assedly guess about G&M Orkney single casks. Yet.

I've enjoyed G&M's Highland Park releases because they're often bourbon cask matured, an under-appreciated style of Kirkwall's finest. As noted last week, most of the big bucks are spent on dark sherry cask Highland Park. There will be a mix of sherry and bourbon cask HPs for the rest of this cluster, but this week brings me three first-fill bourbon barrel whiskies. First, I have a relative youngster from the retired Cask Strength series...

Distillery: Highland Park
Ownership: The Edrington Group
Region: Islands (Orkney)
Independent Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Range: Cask Strength
Age: 10 years old (16 Oct 2001 - 13 Sept 2012)
Maturation: 1st fill bourbon barrel
Cask number: 2998
Alcohol by Volume: 57.7%
(thank you to My Annoying Opinions for the sample!)


Lots of barley, apples and hay on the nose. Horse whisky! Lemon zest, wildflowers and kiwi juice in the midground, a hint of vanilla marshmallows in the background. Interesting......after 20 minutes I smell a horse barn. Reduced to 46%abv, the whisky holds onto the barn note, while swapping out the lemon zest for lime zest. Toasted grains and apple cider appear next, along with a hint of Play-Doh.

Sage smudge and herbal bitterness hits the palate first. Then salt, limes and lots of minerals. Down at 46%abv, the whisky gains some savory smoke, fresher herbs, barley and a hint of cucumber skin.

It finishes with salt, barley, soil and lots of dried herbs. At 46%abv, it finishes with the savory smoke, herbs and a pinch of pepper.


Though you may not see dozens of individual notes or florid adjectives above, I really enjoyed this Highland Park. Rustic and lean with just a touch of oak, it shows HP youth in all the right ways. It also dilutes well, and can be dropped closer to 40%abv without much of a problem. If you enjoy this style, keep an eye out for this cask if it ever hits the secondary markets.

Availability - ???
Pricing - ???
Rating - 87


  1. Jesus, man, your "holding on to samples forever" sickness is threatening to eclipse mine. I'd forgotten I'd ever owned a bottle of this, leave alone reviewed it.

    1. How about my "waiting months to check my comment moderation section" sickness?