Whisky Review: Cadenhead Single Cask Highland Park 1996 Aged 20 Years

Style: Sweet and Oaky

Nose:

Intriguing and busy opening – Fresh peppermint infused with Eau De Vie flowing onto a layer of apple honey. Cold pressed Aloe Vera juice, coastal breeze growing stronger, dash of salt and peculiar touch of mineral peat you won’t expect from Highland Park. The sweetness consolidates to form a sweet, floral honey backbone. A rather soft aroma which requires your full attention.

Palate:

A mini-burst of sweetness on the palate, green pears on cupcake icing, vanilla cream, apple pie dipping into more heather honey. Sea waves waning as ashy peat fading off. Mineral notes combines with a distinct layer of bitter white oak. White pepper dust, coastal notes re-emerges towards the back, briny kelp finish.

Finish:

The bitterness lingers, some tannins and mineral notes. Honey, stew fruits and a rather evident coastal tail.

Thoughts:

A Highland Park which is stronger on oak spices and maritime front. Some might feel it is a couple of loose ends, but it also shows the individuality of the expression. If you are sensitive to bitterness, I encourage you to take bigger sips – that way you can taste more of the sweetness while less nuanced oaky notes can be detected. Flavours and intensity are a bit softer than what you would expect from a 20 year old cask strength Highland Park, on the flip side the complexity is rather enjoyable.

☆ [Recommended]

[50.6% • Independent Bottling • 2016 Bottled • 1996 Distilled • Single Cask • Cask Strength • Non Chill Filtered • Non Coloured • Matured in a Bourbon Hogshead • 258 Bottles]

-Esmond