Highland Park Week – Day 7: Highland Park 27yo 1972/1999 (50%, Douglas Laing, Old Malt Cask, 324 bottles)

Wow, it’s already the seventh and last day of Master Quill’s Highland Park Week. How time flies when you’re having fun, but I say that after every Master Quill Week. Somehow it is always nice to concentrate on one subject and try several examples in quick succession. This week may have been a bit heavy on the Independent side, since only two offerings released by the distillery themselves were reviewed. Beforehand I would have thought the 18yo OB would be a worthy opponent to the five Independent offerings, but it turned out otherwise. We know the 18yo can be (very) good, but we also know that it does suffer from batch variation. So quite a surprise there. Another surprise was the sheer quality of the 9yo Signatory bottling. A Whisky not even in its teens! If only all of todays NAS offerings would be this good… Yesterday we had a very nice Highland Park bottled by Douglas Laing, which churned out quality Whisky one after the other. So it wasn’t a hard decision to end this Week with a 1972 bottling by Douglas Laing again, especially since it was bottled in 1999, early on in the Old Malt Cask series (OMC). Early OMC bottlings were always right up there, so lets see if this is any different, and therefore a worthy example to finish off this week.

Color: Gold.

Nose: I had only one sniff and I’m already in love. Nectar of the gods. Super fruity, old Malt. Too much fruit to name. Pineapple, passion fruit, apricots and white peach (somewhat later in the mix), but there is a lot more. More apricots, dried and sugared, Hints of regular peach and banana. Super fruity and super funky. Nutty and sweaty. Utterly wonderful. Yes this is an old Single Malt from, and I’m guessing here, a remade American oak hogshead. Vanilla combined with clay, soft spices and very soft oak. Vegetal and slightly dusty. Hints of cereal and latte macchiato as well. The yellow fruits are thick and syrupy, but just like a great, sweetish, White Wine, the acidic part is equally important. This thick, syrupy Highland Park has such an acidic top note, that livens the whole up. This is stuff from the hall of fame, something like 1972 Caperdonich. Stellar. Sugared yellow fruits picked up by hints of zesty citrus fruit. Well-integrated acidity. With some breathing, a more restrained note emerges. Fresh air. The big fruit dissipates a bit, leaving more room for some sour oak. Underneath, a slightly meaty, cold gravy aroma. Amazing how little wood is showing throughout. Butter with hints of salt and black pepper and after a while some nice oak finally emerges to make up the finish. Creamy and half-sweet yoghurt with white peach. Calvados and graphite powder. This change in character is kind of special. This Highland Park starts out as a 1972 Caperdonich, however the Caperdonichs don’t show such a change, so both finish quite differently.

Taste: Wonderful, elegant, half-sweet at first and a bit brittle. Lots of fruit again, red fruit pastilles and a large nutty part combined with slightly bitter dark chocolate and toffee. This is a bit of a Malt with granny’s osteoporosis, but we all love our granny don’t we, warts and all. It still has enough power at 50% ABV, but the aroma’s don’t seem to be as big as in the nose. Laid back fruit and even some Belgian Beer (again). It’s definitely simpler and not as thick as I imagined it to be. Some sweetness from sugared fruits, which fade-out… The body is thin, but not weak. It disintegrates a bit. Still a pretty long finish though, leaving a note of warm milk (from the latte macchiato?)

Don’t buy the, sometimes, mediocre over-priced, over-hyped bottlings of today, unless there are no old bottles to be bought, when bottles don’t show up anymore at auction. All collected or hopefully drunk by people who appreciate them. Spend your hard-earned cash on something like this, before it’s really too late. Everybody needs to taste how it used to be, and how it could be done…

Points: 91

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Glenlossie 27yo 1984/2012 (57.9%, Signatory Vintage, Cask Strength Collection for Waldhaus am See, Sherry Butt #2532, 504 bottles)

Recently my Whisky club went on a trip to Switzerland (again), and this time on our journeys we visited Waldhaus am See, almost running over some white rabbits who live in the parking lot these days. The plan was to stop only for half an hour or so, to have a look at the famous (and large) Whisky bar, because we had plans to visit another place too. We entered the hotel and left more than half a day later. Spending some time in the bar, having lunch and having a look at Claudio’s private collection and the Hotel Whisky shop. We left with quite some bottles. We also had a look at the world’s second largest wine-collection. Wow! Never a dull day.

Glenlossie 27yo 1984/2012 (57.9%, Signatory Vintage, Cask Strength Collection for Waldhaus am See, Cask #2532, 504 bottles)Color: Copper

Nose: Very musty right off the bat, but quickly settling. After a while it gets more winey. and dusty. Some hints of fireworks (toasted cask), but also hints of cardboard, and morning breath. Creamy with hints of smoke (toasted cask?) and fresh wood. Cream, vanilla and wine are the main markers of this nose, but also some after eight. Mint with chocolate. When completely settled it get even perfumy. Absolutely interesting whisky. Lots happening in this one.

Taste: Again winey, with lots of toasted cask. Charcoal and prickly smoke (yes in the taste!). Very appetizing stuff. Sweet and charcoal with some hidden vanilla. Very tasty and although this has a pretty high ABV, for me this is easily drinkable. Orange skins, some acidity and slightly bitter, again from the toasted cask.

Waldhaus am See has a tradition of bottling a lot of Whisky for their hotel, and a lot of those bottling sell out very quickly, even big Butts like this one. Nice Glenlossie this is.

Points: 86

Thanks go out to Michael for taking care of us for so long. Excellent! Thanx also to The Genietschap for letting me have a sample of this bottle to be able to write this review. Thanx guys!