Translate Caskstrength!

Sunday 8 June 2008

Bin Men Don't Do Rubbish.

In March we were lucky enough to find a bottle of this Highland Park OB, in a wonderful printed bottle (embossed on the reverse with the highland park details) which has been done esp for Oddbinns, who were knocking it out for under £40. It come in a beautiful bottle (just flip it over to see a map of Orkney embossed on the bottom), probably the nicest one I have seen this year, with lovely gold lettering on the front (see the picture above).

A little tab around the neck of the bottle reads:

"Cask number 1555 was filled on the 25th July 1995 and after just over 12 years maturing on Orkney, this classic sherry cask, previously seasoned with Oloroso sherry has matured beautifully. Providing a wonderful dark natural coloured cask strength single malt bursting with flavour and character."

Opened this weekend, let's get into the tasting notes of this cheeky little dram:

Highland Park OB 12 yo Single Cask - 1995 - 60.6% - Cask No. 1555 (Oloroso Cask) - Probably somwhere in the region of 500 bottles.

Nose- Beautiful: Fruit cake, natural caramel, polished oak, cocoa, cloves, mixed peel and orange peel. Wonderful sherry notes, vibrant oak. Old skool leather. Like a Gentlemen’s Club that Phileas Fogg would be a member of . Then comes Butter scotch and ginger, becoming more savoury, then exotic, candied sugar-almonds. Lightly toasted white bread pops up mixed with light coffee. Water softens and brings out toasted buttered hot-cross-buns.

Palate - It is immense. Chocolate, rich malt, huge rich sherry presence. It is so powerful but polished with malt to back it up. Big spices and exotic fruit mix with cloves. A lovely sweetness but with a solid malt foundation. We aren’t so concerned with mouth-feel here at, but this has big mouth feel. An excellent balance of strength and intensity, helped by the cask strength nature of this bottling.

Finish - Very long. With, chillies and sugared almonds again and all that you get in the palate, only echoes.

Overall - What an insane bargain at £36 (or £38, we can’t quite remember and we’re too scared to look at our bank statements post-Islay!) and in a high street store. The best "bang for your buck" this year? Shows what can be done when a top quality distillate goes into a top quality cask. A massive credit to anyone involved; a massive plus to Highland Park and a massive plus to oddbins for knocking this out at under £40. Expect to spend upwards of a tonne on this now which, to be fair, is still worth it.

Notes by Tim and Joel.