Highland Park 18yo (43%, OB, 2012)

Nerdy anorak types like me still shed some tears when we think back to the “wide neck 18yo” Wow what a piece of work that was. That one was replaced by a new 18yo in the more feminine bottle. Since that replacement I tasted some less interesting batches which made me lose my faith in my beloved 18yo. I have never bought an 18yo since. Today I got an opportunity to try one batch of the “newer” 18yo’s, a look that is already with us since 2007.  Rumours are this 18yo will stay in the fold of Highland Park, so it’s not all NAS for the forseeable future, but prices will rise by 20%. So lets find out if this 18yo is good enough to stock up on. (L0470P L4 07/11)

Highland Park 18yoColor: Orange full gold.

Nose: Fresh, coastal. Hints of Sherry, Heather, clay and honey, yes recognizable as a (modern) Highland Park. Almonds and a small hint of peat and pencil shavings. I have to say I still remember this nose from a long time ago. Reminds me a bit of the “wide neck” 12yo. Quality stuff, although for me the E150 is noticeable too. Nice nuttiness.

Taste: Waxy, fruity and very likeable.  Hot butter and peat. Lots of fruit yellow and red, but also a peppery attack I don’t remember from earlier bottlings. Fern. It’s very aromatic and well made. Warming (beer like) finish with hints of smoke ánd a small amount of clay and peat. Excellent balance and overall tastes good. All-round ‘eh!

All goes well untill the finish. The finish is good but just too weak. If Highland Park are really planning to up the price of this I would most certainly hope they will give it some extra ABV to help the finish along. Still I’m happy to recognize this still as a classic Highland Park, it’s nice to still taste the typical Highland Park profile. I hope the 12yo is also still up to par too.

Looking at the present range of Highland Park, and I tasted quite a lot of them, some are a bit underwhelming and some are not reasonably priced anymore. When playing the game of elimination this 18yo is the last one standing…

Points: 87

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