Highland Park - ICE

The Highland Park ICE edition bottling that was released earlier this year is a 17 year expression at 53,9%. From what I understood it has been maturing in mostly rebuilt first fill bourbon casks, and that those have been fitted with virgin american oak cask ends. Please correct me if I am wrong in this but it would explain the kind of tasting notes that I am getting with one...

Besides the discussions about the high retail price of around 190 pounds (exceeding by far my whisky budget limits) and the discussions around the Highland Park packaging, I wanted to give the whisky it self a good look and make some notes on it and not go into the other discussions. For me the liquid counts and makes the difference.

If you like to know more about this whisky and the story behind it please go to the Highland Park website. There they can tell you more about it. Thanks Martin for sharing the sample so there could be a closer look at it when back home. A great distillery to visit with fantastic passionate people and some good drinks to share, if you are going to Orkney stop there for sure!

The nose is one side soft but also has a bit sharp citrus freshness to it with some young wood notes. Just a hint of an earthy note, green apples, icing sugar, honey, white pepper, pencil shaving, vanilla, different kinds of fruits, candied ginger, oranges and some spices. Also reminding me of those lemon candied sugar sweets and the glass smells the day after off chocolate mouse, vanilla cream and hints of spicy ginger cake. 

The palate gives me notes of heather, black pepper, creamy vanilla, fresh fruit, mango, dried apricots, hint of old dry leather, pineapple syrup, fruit cake, hint of sage and some thyme. I looks a lot like the nose, bit earthy note combined with sharp citrus notes. Middle length finish that is sweet and some notes of vanilla and light dry new wood.

Scraping of the image that they give you with the packaging, story etc and ignoring price and so it is not blowing me away. It is not a bad whisky at all just different then I expected from Highland Park? Maybe I have not tasted enough of their expressions but for me personal I get the feeling I am missing some of the typical markers that I always get in Highland Park whisky. Warmer fruits and spices, a warmer creamier earthy note to it not this dry feeling. Always find lots of different citrus fruits in them but in this one it has too much attention? The moorish notes don't seem to coming through strongly. If I go back to the new make notes I did before I see there a lot of things coming back, but there is also something missing.

Scoring it an 7,5 out of 10. Tasted it twice on different moments and days making this note to see what it did for me and it grew on me. At the first try I found the citrus notes too sharp and present. Second time, still the case, but more sweet and creamy notes also appeared, making it more balanced somehow. Adding some water to it mellowed the citrus out and revealed a more creamy orange sweetness. Lovely fresh and sweet, but after looking at it from all sides it is still not my favourite Highland Park so far, but not a bad whisky also. Thanks Martin for sharing and giving the chance to learn more about the great distillery and its whiskies!

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