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Thursday, September 2, 2021

Highland Park 25 year old, 48.1%abv edition

(Highland Park cluster homepage)

Over the span of two decades, Highland Park gradually diluted their 25 year old release from 53.5%abv to 45.7%abv. I've tried the 50.7% and 48.1% bottlings on a few occasions, and always liked them more than the 30yo. Before I review my sample below, I'd like to encourage anyone who has open bottles of those whiskies to share or split 'em, because they need to be tried by newbies and experienced drinkers alike. The whiskies are not standard sherry bombs.

I think this particular sample of the 48.1% comes from around the 2006-2007 era when the bottle shape changed, and the ABV dropped a couple points.

Some of the blogger's photos are getting as desperate
as Sy Snootles.
Distillery: Highland Park
Ownership: The Edrington Group
Region: Islands (Orkney)
Age: minimum 25 years old
Bottled: 2006-2007?
Maturation: likely a mix of Oloroso casks
Alcohol by Volume: 48.1%
(from a bottle split)


A nexus of dirty stones, ocean air and mild smoke leads the nose. Beneath that, one may find guava, apricot and yellow peaches. Beneath that are hints of toffee pudding and damp basements.

The bold palate has the nose's mix of stones, smoke and salt, while also taking on dunnage and musty casks (with minimal tannins). Smoked chipotles gradually turn into fresh Serranos. It also has a dragonfruit note, which I'm only referencing because I ate a dragonfruit this week. There's a good balance of mild bitterness and mild sweetness throughout.

Tart fruits roll forward in the finish joining with chile oils, making it quite zesty. Hints of dunnage and Oloroso here and there. Sweet oranges appear after the final sips.


These 25+ year old sherry cask Highland Parks I've reviewed are all excellent, and any one of them could top the others depending on the mood or environment, so I'm just parsing minutiae at this point. In regards to this official 25yo Highland Park, I'm in agreement with My Annoying Opinions, Whiskyfun and Whiskynotes, the lively whisky packs a wallop into every sip. Any moneyed individual looking for Smooth will make whiskyfaces when trying this. Kudos to HP (15 years ago) for offering a fighter at this age range.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - €350-€450
Rating - 90