Distilled September 1996, bottled September 2013, from a refill hogshead, DL ref 9903.
Nose: Smoke, honey and heather. With water it develops a fresher character, of green apples and grass.
Palate: Honey! Lightly smoked. Water opens for malt, but there is still a lot of honey.
Comments: A perfectly decent Highland Park.
Tasted at Oslo Whiskyfestival 2014.
Cask number 1973, distilled 11.12.1996, bottled 31.03.2011.
Nose: Apple compote with cinnamon, dark chocolate, fragrant roses. A little water adds mint, orange peel, jasmine and lemon.
Palate: Oak and apple peel, honey, black pepper and dark chocolate. More chocolate with water, orange marmelade and bay leaf.
Comments: Yet another stunning sherry cask from Arran. Confirms the rule that these are a steal at almost any price (this particular cask has not been available in Norway, but those that have have been just as good).
Thanks to Bjørn for the taster.
Distilled 13.12.1990, bottled 12.06.2007, from cask number 15688. 1st fill sherry butt.
Nose: Quite closed. A little vanilla and baked pears. Water brings out smoke, orange peel and white flowers.
Palate: The smoke may be hiding on the nose, but is obvious on the palate; cold bonfire. Also freshly baked wholemeal bread with honey. With water the smoke turns chalky, and I find flower nectar and honeydew melon.
Comments: First a note on the colour. It’s not obvious from the picture, but this is hardly darker than the average white wine. What’s up with that? 1st fill sherry should normally be much more visible. And the nose and palate have no very obvious sherry notes, either. If you buy this because you like sherry bombs you will be bitterly disappointed.
But otherwise: What’s not to like? A really, really nice Highland Park cask Signatory have got their hands on, even if it seems to be mislabeled.
Another sample I have forgotten the origin of. I really need to create a better system for samples!
Nose: Toffee with a hint of mint. Dry oak and vanilla. With water it develops raisins and baked apples, but the vanilla gets a somewhat rotten side note.
Palate: Too much oak? After only 13 years that’s actually kind of impressive. Oak, varnish, slightly rotten wood. With water it develops some bitterness, which for once is a good thing as it kills off the note of decay.
Comments: I’m ambivalent, but land on “No”. Too much cask and it’s also all over the place and tastes different for every sip.
Distilled 21 August 1996, bottled 26 April 2005, bottle number 158 of 240.
Nose: Malt, a hint of menthol and juniper berries. After a while in the glass tart raspberries appear. Water opens for black pepper and tart pears and a hint of fruity chewing gum.
Palate: Malt, Vademecum, oaky bitterness. Water lessens the impression of Vademcum and develops into something vegetal.
Comments: I can’t remember the herby and spicy character being so strong before, but this is another bottle that has been left less than half full for a while. In this case, though, it’s a beneficial development. Very nice – and intriguing – nose, somewhat less interesting taste.