What can I do to restore my palate after three weeks of the Whisky Weirdos World's Worst Whisky Awards? Well, I thought I should go with something really great, or at least really expensive. Highland Park is one of my favorite distilleries, but I don't write much about them because they don't put out many new releases that are priced within reach to the average consumer. Despite some of their high prices, I have great respect for HP and it was a Highland Park whisky that was probably most responsible for turning me into a whisky nut. I also appreciate that at whisky fairs and tastings, they pour generously from their 30 year old expression, which for a long time was their oldest regular expression. A few years ago, though, they came out with a 40 year old, followed by a 50. I assumed I would never taste the 40, but here I am with a miniature in my possession.
Highland Park 40, 48.3% (Several Thousand Dollars)
The nose on this is a beautiful balance of sherry and malt; the sherry is present but not at all overwhelming, yielding beautiful fruit notes. The nose is really wonderful, balanced, nuanced and very consistent with the same fragrances in the first and last sniff. The palate begins with sweet sherry notes and trails off into malty, grassy and some floral notes with maybe the faintest tinge of smoke, which comes to life in the finish. This is very nice stuff with lots of interesting elements. Overall, I'd say the palate is not quite as balanced or nuanced as the nose, but good stuff nonetheless.
Of course, given the prices on this, it's hard to recommend it to anyone who's not a tycoon, but it sure was fun to try.