Highland Park SMWS 4.195

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Distillery/Brand: Highland Park | Region: Isle of Orkney | ABV: 59.3% | Colour: Young Sauternes
Nose: 22 | Taste: 22 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 88

Review
Highland Park does some questionable stuff and some pretty awesome stuff at the same time. The older HPs (18, 21, 25, 30) are all pretty awesome in my opinion. All this other business with vikings and the NAS stuff is by and large quite questionable in my opinion. With the exception of Thor, mind you. That’s a peach.

So I don’t really know what to expect when opening a bottle from this Orkney distillery. Which is irritating because, based on the age statement expressions, I genuinely want to like everything they do.

And so I was in two minds before deciding to open up this SMWS. To be honest I got it only because it was SMWS and was up for sale at a decent price. Also because the name on the label got stuck in my head.

Acrobat In An Orchestra.

I mean, come on! How awesome is that name. It tells me absolutely nothing yet compels me to buy it. In fact, in honor of this creative naming system, I am going to dispense with my boring old method of describing flavors and be as SMWS as possible.

The spirit has been matured in a first-fill bourbon barrel for 14 years. Distilled on October 15, 1999 it is served at a cask strength of 59.3%

Nose: Young girl in love for the first time. Gentle breeze rocks the patio chair. Purple petals fall to the ground. Grandma in the kitchen is prepping for dessert. Two children run excitedly in the tall grass. Father is back from the butchers. It’s the first day of Spring. 22/25

Palate: Everyone at the dinner table. The dog knocks over the fruit basket. Fire roars strong. Crackles and pops. The walls have memories. Family picture hangs crooked. 22/25

Finish: It’s been a long hard day. Hands are calloused. Trying to sleep but the mind is wide awake. 22/25

Overall Comments: OK I have no idea what I’ve written. But you know why I wrote it so you’re going to have to live with it. Don’t blame me. Blame the acid trippers over at SMWS. Do I like it? Yes, of course. It’s pretty damn good!

PS : I’m going to destroy the original notes so that I never come back and taint this version.

PPS : Add a splash of water and it turns to summer.

Rating: 88

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Scapa 16

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Distillery/Brand: Scapa
Region: Island
ABV: 40%
Colour: Sunlight

Nose: 22
Taste: 22
Finish: 22
Balance: 21

Review
Normally kept for post-dinner drams, my Scapa 16 was pulled out of the bar for an early evening taste. A good choice!

The Islander has quite a colorful nose – aromatic purple flowers like lavender sit in a fruit basket of papaya and apricots as citrus infused honey is drizzled quite liberally over the bouquet. All the while sitting next to a bowl of cereal and kneaded dough. A pleasant nose to awaken all your senses.

The medium bodied oily palate starts off white peppery spicy followed by the pleasant sweetness of honey and toffee.

A decent finish brings you rock melon and papaya. The papaya! It’s so strong in this one.

All in all a very decent dram – something to be had quite regularly.

Rating: 87

Highland Park 25

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Distillery/Brand: Highland Park
Bottling: 25 Year old
Region: Island
ABV: 48.1%
Colour: Old Sauternes

Nose: 24
Taste: 23
Finish: 23
Balance: 23

Review
I opened this glorious expression last New Year’s Eve which was really my way of telling my friends and family how special they were to me.

A thick syrupy nose, dripping with dark honey, chocolate, char grilled tangerines, breakfast marmalade and that scrumptious layer of burnt sugar found on top of a perfectly cooked caramel pudding. I was so glad I chose to go with this expression to impress my friends! Cuddle with it a little more and you will experience a sprinkle of aniseeds atop a rum fruit cake. All of this is then perfectly balanced against the backdrop of mature oak. Perfect!

The velvet delivery first comes with black pepper and then quite expertly balances out with a spread of maple syrup, orange zest followed by a sprinkling of dark chocolate flakes.

At nearly cask strength the finish is satisfyingly long, dry and oaky. There are cloves with the minutest touch of tobacco and leather and, just as you’re about to bid adieu, there is that delicious burnt sugar on top of the caramel pudding.

Even though there is a slightly bitter aftertaste I don’t think it will affect my popularity with my friends!

Rating: 93