Friday, September 3, 2010

Highland Park 20 year old

Highland Park 20 year old (4.120)
Distilled: December, 1986
Bottled: July, 2007 by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Proof: 101

This is a cask strength whisky bottled by the independent bottler, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (herein referred to as SMWS). The SMWS buys individual barrels, or casks, from specific distilleries and bottles their own whiskies for the membership. Not to become an advertisement, but the SMWS is a great way to learn about rarer, more flavorful whiskies from distilleries which may not otherwise be available in the states (Virginia at least). They also assign their own naming convention to each distillery and bottling, thus the 4 for Highland Park and 120 for the specific SMWS bottling.

I'll end up talking a lot about Highland Park because, along with Ardbeg, my favorite whiskies in the world come from this distillery in the northern Scottish island of Orkney. As Michael Jackson notes in his definitive book on the topic, Michael Jackson's Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch, "Highland Park is the greatest all-rounder in the world of malt whisky. It is definitely an island style, but combining all the elements of a classic single malt: smokiness (with its own heather-honey accent), maltiness, smoothness, roundness, fullness of flavour, and length of finish". Not bad, huh?

If you can find any bottle of cask strength Highland Park, buy it. That's all I have to say about that.

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