Monday, August 15, 2016

Is Highland Park Ice Worth Your Cold Cash?

Highland Park Ice Edition is a new, 17 year old expression from the Orkney Island distillery.  It's bottled and priced similarly to the Valhalla Collection, though the strange wooden frame looks like a mountain or pyramid instead of a ship. Highland Park recently cleared a label for a Fire Edition, so this appears to be another series.

Highland Park Ice Edition, 17 years old, 53.9% ($300)

The nose is very nice, malty with light peat notes. The palate opens with sweet honey malt notes followed by some light peat. The finish is dry and peppery.

This is a nicely composed and well balanced malt. Tasting notes really don't do it justice because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It's highly drinkable and the dry finish leaves you wanting another sip. This is the type of balanced malt that Highland Park can do so well. It reminds me of some of their older releases that I really loved. The only downside is the price, but hey, did I mention the mountain shaped box?

Thanks to Highland Park for the sample.


Unknown said...

I do like Highland Park, but their gimmicks, well, they leave me cold. My guess is that old fashioned, great tasting liquid isn't nearly as delectable unless gussied up some. And apparently, not as profitable.

Shame, really. Our consumerist tendencies are clouding our taste for pure enjoyments. Would have thought the practical Scots would have kept it closer to the heart.

At least the lawyers have some trophies to chase down instead of ambulances.

Mark said...

HP IB's with similar tasting notes can be had for a fraction of the price, which is where I'll be getting my HP fix from now on.

Anonymous said...

Sounds great. Also sounds like a series produced/marketed primarily for collectors/resellers, not drinkers.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if that fire thing is supposed to be more heavily peated HP?

I've never really picked up much peat in the (few) HPs I've had, but those who are sensitive to it typically describe a different, more "Orcadian" peat that I would LOVE to taste at higher levels.

Or, are there any more heavily peated IBs out there?

- Ol' Jas

Anonymous said...

All OB HPs are peated equally, to my knowledge. That said, I find the peat comes through much more when the American Oak barrels are used more than Spanish Oak barrels. Doubly so when they are ex-Bourbon vs. ex-Sherry. The Ice is predominantly American oak/ ex-bourbon, which explains the fervor with which I enjoy this edition. The Fire edition, however, is supposedly aged entirely in Port pipes, but I'll withhold judgement until it's release. I hope it's not a repeat (pun intended) of the Laphroaig Cairdeas Port edition.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for that scoop, Keith—especially the point that all HPs are peated equally.

Given all the trendy peating of traditionally unpeated whiskies these days, it's really surprising (and disappointing) that HP hasn't done a heavily peated release. After all, they're known as a peaty gateway drug, plus their peat is often reputed to be distinct from the peat used elsewhere.

-Ol' Jas

Anonymous said...

First "Ice", with "Fire" to follow - is HP going for the Game of Thrones angle?!!