A K&L Exclusive 10 Year Old Cask from the Iconic Highland Park Distillery – Scotch Whisky News


Don’t Miss a Limited Opportunity at a Collector’s Dream Single Malt
2008 Highland Park 10 Year Old “K&L Exclusive” Cask #7774 Refill Sherry Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky ($139.99)
“This is the sexiest example of Highland Park we’ve ever seen.”
— Andrew Whiteley, K&L NorCal Spirits Buyer

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Our Spirits buyers really nailed it with their selection of this K&L Exclusive cask. The Highland Park distillery is a collector’s go-to for single malts of unmatched finesse and complexity, and the bottlings are more and more difficult to find on the open market with each passing year. The distillery has always had a penchant for doing things the hard way, including floor malting by hand. This process, while requiring the sacrifice of a certain amount of production capacity, also leads to a finished whisky of utterly distinctive character that’s further augmented by the extremely unique Orkney peat used to dry the barley. This particular Sherry hogshead imparted a seriously dark hue to the whisky that it held despite it being a refill and, although this dram is driven by an inherent sense of elegance, it’s also bolstered by a substantial core of power. The tension on display in the 10 Year Old Highland Park is incredible, especially considering its age, and the aromatic and flavor profiles are, quite frankly, kaleidoscopic. The peat comes through in a clear but subtle underlying smoky note that permeates throughout. For fans of classically styled single malts, the 2008 Highland Park 10 Year Old is a must-have. At a mere 299 bottles available, those who act fastest will reap the rewards.

2008 Highland Park 10 Year Old “K&L Exclusive” Cask #7774 Refill Sherry Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) ($139.99)

Another gorgeous cask of Highland Park that was bottled exclusively for K&L Wine Merchants. This one is equally special to the European oak hogshead that we also received this year, but completely different in character. The excellent malt coming out of Kirkwall is renowned worldwide for its quality, but many don’t realize that Highland Park is one of a handful of Scottish distillers that continue to utilize the wildly inefficient floor maltings. The tradeoff for losing capacity to floor maltings is a malt of great character and complexity. In addition, the extremely unique Orkney peat is used to dry that barley, which is one of the main reasons for Highland Park’s distinctive flavor profile. Between 20% to 30% of the hand-malted barley goes into every batch of Highland Park, resulting in a lightly peated whisky that, when coupled with the high quantity of active sherry casks, means the whisky isn’t perceived as particularly peaty to most palates. And while Highland Park does produce small amounts of whisky that are 100% hand malted, mostly as blending components for special releases, it’s rare to find a single cask that exhibits the qualities of that special Orkney peat more clearly, despite it being blended with at least 70% of unmalted barley. This refill hogshead almost certainly held malt in it for a very long time before being refilled in 2008. Very dark for a refill, and the resulting spirit is the closest we’ve come to the “old” style Highland Park that we love so well.

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 14, 2020

This is the sexiest example of Highland Park we’ve ever seen. Power and grace abound. While the words “First Fill Sherry” adorning the title of our other HP cask gets a lot of people’s blood pumping, it’s the elegance of this refill cask that stands out. It’s certainly not lacking in power – it’s a beastly dram at 61.6% ABV – but it’s supple and balanced beyond belief. The rich mahogany meets burnt amber color looks like it should be a first fill sherry cask, but “refill hogshead” is printed right on the label. The nose is a cornucopia of orange peel, cocoa nibs, fresh cut heather, crisp apple slices, fig marmalade, and a hint of smoky bacon. The palate has what you get when elegance and balance meet power: tension. It’s alive and kicking ass, but holding it on your mouth is a serene experience. The finish lasts for minutes. At first the smoke fills your senses and that gives way to much more floral and candied notes. After a good long while it resolves into the finest of dark chocolate and fresh citrus zest with a touch of coffee. A beautiful performance that you can repeat every night. At least until it’s gone. The cask yielded just 299 bottles.

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 09, 2020

It’s extremely infrequent that we find a cask at this age that shows so much complexity. While the 12 year old cask that we also bottled this year had density and power unlike any we’ve seen previously, this cask has a depth and nuance that isn’t at all available in the 12 year. This cask is much more in line with the way I remember Highland Park once was, rather than the more bold and forward offerings we regularly see today. With that in mind, this is by no means a subtle whisky. It’s got character to burn and it’s DEFINITELY on the smokey side of HP. Let’s taste! Color: Tawny. Nose: The nose isn’t at all peaty per say, but it’s definitely smoke-y. A perfect example of the distinction of those two flavors. Leather, mesquite, bacon, hints of diesel engine, old cigar box and roasted cloves. Behind a touch of black fruit and pepper. Palate: Here is that AWESOME Orkney peat! Right up front and travelling straight through the palate. It’s not the iodine peat but the flaming heather and earthy peat, framed perfectly with nutty sherry, dark fruit and woodsy spice. With water the nose transforms and offers a big burnt orange peel and candied citrus. Subtle mossy notes allude to the smoke coming on the palate. Now we’re talking! It’s very sweet and smokey now. Softening on the spice and bringing more dried fruits. This one is awesome right out of the bottle, but comes together perfectly with a splash of water. WOW, I’m so in love with this style.

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