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Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Highland Park 17 year old 2001 Gordon & MacPhail, cask 3004

(Highland Park cluster homepage)  

I rarely have the opportunity to this but......here's a cask that's a true sibling to that of my previous review. Monday's 10yo, cask 2998, was distilled on the 16th of October 2001. Today's 17yo, cask 3004, was distilled on the 16th of October 2001. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens after another seven years of maturation in G&M's warehouses. During those seven years, the old Cask Strength range was rebranded/replaced by the Connoisseurs Choice Cask Strength series, which is essentially the same thing but with different packaging and higher prices. So it goes.

Distillery: Highland Park
Ownership: The Edrington Group
Region: Islands (Orkney)
Independent Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Range: Connoisseurs Choice Cask Strength
Age: 17 years old (16 Oct 2001 - 10 Sept 2019)
Maturation: 1st fill bourbon barrel
Cask number3004
Outturn: 174 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 56.5%
(from a bottle split)


This one feels heftier than the 10yo from the start. The nose leads with toasted oak and citronella up front, with hints of farm and burning tires in the background. Almond notes come and go. The fruits (apricots and kiwis) appear later. The nose shifts a bit at 46%abv. It gets a little coastal, and the smoke reads more like burning plastic. But cardamom and marzipan are the main notes.

There's a definite link between this 17yo and the 10yo in the palate. Herbs stay in the front, and the sage tilts more towards the dried stuff than smudge. Plenty of bitter citrus peel up front, with salt and almond extract in the back. It gets smokier with time. An aggressive bitterness swoops in once the whisky is reduced to 46%abv, clouding out everything else aside from bits of sugar and vanilla.

The smoke reads loudest in the finish. There are also plenty of dried savory herbs, salt and pepper. At 46%abv, the finish becomes short and a little weird with a mix of vanilla and veg.


Compared to the 10 year old, the 17's oak does read a little louder, but it doesn't take over. This whisky doesn't dilute as well as the 10, and the finish doesn't totally work. It is bitterer and smokier overall, though, which is a big plus for those who prefer spirits like that. Though I'm in that club, I'd take the 10 over this.

Availability - ???
Pricing - €130-€160
Rating - 85

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