Highland Park 12 Year Old—A K&L Exclusive Cask—Super Rare, Highly Collectible – Scotch Whisky News


Limited Release: A Rare and Bold Expression of Highland Park

2005 Highland Park 12 Year Old “K&L Exclusive” Refill Sherry Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt ($159.99)
“We’re extremely lucky to have secured this special cask and anyone who manages
to take the plunge will immediately understand why.” —David Othenin-Girard, K&L SoCal Spirits Buyer

As a single cask expression coming from one of Scotland’s most celebrated distillers, this is one of those “get-it-while-you-can” type offers. We simply couldn’t believe our good fortune when we were exclusively offered this amazing single malt from Highland Park. Only but a handful of retailers were offered such an opportunity and none, except us, received a cask of such unremitting power and complexity. A true rarity if there ever was one, this 12-year-old single malt will undoubtedly be prized possession for the lucky few who add it to their collection. On display is a classic Highland Park profile buttressed by ample heat, richness, spice, and layered complexity. While this may be a refill hogshead, don’t be fooled, as there’s no shortage of potency in this beauty. Simply put, there’s no Highland Park on the market that shows more intensity or depth of flavor. If your budget allows, a purchase of multiples is highly recommended as this is a dram you’ll want to return to time and again.

2005 Highland Park 12 Year Old “K&L Exclusive” Refill Sherry Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml) ($159.99)

After years of begging and pleading, Highland Park has finally agreed to sell us a single cask. These barrels have been popping up around the country over the last year and are already becoming collectible. We were very excited to get full-proof HP in ex-sherry hoggies and although it’s a refill, it’s still dark and full of dense Oloroso character. The powerful Orkney distillate does wonders up against sherry and our barrel is no exception. It’s unfortunate that this one will probably end up in collections across the world when it’s so delicious, so if you can afford it, buy one to drink and one to cellar. Considering the wild demand for other single barrels that have arrived elsewhere in the country, we don’t believe this barrel will be around for very long. Cask #3294. Only 253 bottles produced.

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 13, 2018

It’s pretty strange these days for distilleries to implement new single-barrel programs, but when Highland Park popped up with this awesome cask we knew we were getting in on the start of something special. The other casks, sold at select locations across the country, have become extremely sought after by collectors. This product is one of the most impressive casks we’ve EVER stocked of any kind. And our barrel is being sold for significantly less than our competitors (not sure why?). You may see the word “refill” and think it will be a light one, but it’s exactly the opposite. Sometimes the second fill actually draws more intensity and sherry character out of the cask than the first. This one is dark and bold like no other HP available today. The flavor reminds me of HP of yore. Dense, bold Oloroso notes, snappy-but-subtle Orkney peat, powerful spice, exotic fruit. This one needs a hit of water and it softens up like a dream. We’re extremely lucky to have secured this special cask and anyone who manages to take the plunge will immediately understand why.

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 30, 2018

Oh happy surprise! In truth, I didn’t know this cask was coming. This barrel was arranged for well over a year ago by my predecessor, David Driscoll. Obviously when our distributor informed me it was here, after a moment to collect myself, I was elated and immediately popped open a bottle when it arrived. The vast majority of our single casks of Scotch come to us by way of independent bottlers, but this Highland Park is direct from the distillery. Twelve years old, aged in a refilled hogshead (from the intense dark color it was almost certainly only the second usage), and bottled at a blazing 64.5% ABV, this is one of the most powerful and heady Highland Park’s I’ve encountered. It’s difficult to say just how peaty this cask is. On the nose, it’s mostly dry and dusty sherry notes come through. On the palate, particularly the finish, the bright and clean heather peat that makes HP so famous is on fine display. It melds perfectly with the more savory aspects of the sherry and finishes just a touch sweet. In short, this is a rocking sherry bomb, full throttle, smoky, and luscious Highland Park. What more could I have hoped for in a holiday surprise?

Jeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 04, 2019

Why buy this single-cask Highland Park 12 instead of the distillery bottling? That the K&L exclusive bottling is cask strength for fans of full proof whiskeys is one reason. For me, the most important reason is that this single cask is more intense and flavorful. The nose has nice subtle and delicate smoke aromas. In the mouth the light and pretty smoke continues and is enhanced with a big, lusty, and rich malt flavors that are balanced and in harmony. There is a deep, dark color and a nice, creamy mouthfeel. A touch of water opens this single malt up.

Jackson Lee | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 08, 2018

I’m not usually the one to tell you how to enjoy your whiskey—neat, water, ice, mixed—as long as you’re enjoying and most importantly, appreciating your spirit, do what you like. With that said: ADD WATER. This bottling is coming in at a big 129 proof and there’s no denying it when you pour it into the glass. It’s hot and tight, not necessarily bad things day to day, but not something I want from my whiskey. After a generous addition of dihydrogen monoxide, the aromas and flavors made themselves more accessible past the alcohol vapor obstruction. Deep black plum, dark chocolate, whole cinnamon sticks, toasted sugar, and Worcestershire sauce saw fit to make themselves known. On the palate, the oak and baking spices were accentuated but sweet butter brown sugar notes also came forward to balance the woody spice. The spices lasted through the finish and departed with a light fruitiness.

William Beare | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 01, 2018

Oh my goodness! I first put my nose near this fabulous nectar whilst in the middle of a conversation with a colleague. Mid-sentence, I simply stopped speaking, emitted a strange noise that came from somewhere deep within, and went in for another deep whiff. This is some damn fine scotch, deep and dark in both color and flavor. The sherry hogshead gave up all it had to give for this wickedly tasty single malt- imparting rich, savory, tangy flavors to a backbone of sweet maple. It clocks in at a devilish 129 proof, so consider adding a dash of spring water.

Neal Fischer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 30, 2018

This nose is unbelievably rich and savory. What we have here is a straight-up umami bomb! I’m awash with pungent scents of tangy barbecue sauce, oyster sauce, soy, cracked black pepper, and chilies. It’s so spicy and toasty, with a nice smoke profile that’s more meaty than swamp peaty. The palate becomes stronger with dark fruits like blackberry and Bing cherry, combining very well with the savory barbecue flavors. Dark caramel comes in, but then spice takes over and builds and builds. This is a spicy, saucy mama!


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