Highland Park 17 Years Old WhiskyNerds Secret Orkney Cask 13 49.4% 2004
€ 159,96 (in Vat)
|Distillery||Undisclosed Highland Park|
Secret Orkney 17 yo 2004 (49,4%, WhiskyNerds 2022, butt #13, 248 btl.)
Nose: a leathery start, followed by hints of chalk, wet pebbles and mineral oils, as well as a bag of lemons and oranges. Chestnut honey and sage. Overall the sherry is a gentle (refill) Oloroso style and brings along a mossy sweetness, some tobacco and a clear whiff of gunpowder. Subtle smoke too.
Mouth: rather sweet now, focusing on orange cake and honey, with hints of berry syrup and gingerbread. Brown sugar and apples, with heather and peppery notes. Ginger biscuits with a little toffee and chocolate in the background. Then soft, warm smoke mixing with sweet herbal touches and menthol. A little clove comes out in the end.
Finish: long, with sweet oranges, more of the sweet herbs (thyme and black pepper now) and oak spice.
A really sweet Highland Park. Initially I had some trouble with the caramel and gunpowder on the nose, but after a while the sweet sherry style really grew on me. Very enjoyable with a good balance.
Full review on whiskynotes.be
It’s been a full month since my last post on here, but more on that later. Holidays happened in the meantime, and when I got back home there was a lovely little sample of this Highland Park whisky waiting for me.
These Secret Orkney bottlings, of which there have been quite a lot of over the last couple of years, are always Highland Park. The only other option is Scapa, but the consensus in the entire industry is that none of them are from ‘the other Orkney distillery’. Apart from the fact that Scapa is not selling casks, there seems to be not much of a reason for it, but still.
With one of these Orkney bottlings coming from WhiskyNerds, I am very interested in tasting it, since their quality threshold tends to be rather high. Let’s dive in!
There is a lot happening on the first nosing. There’s a bit of an austere note with some minerals, flint and straw. But there’s also something slightly sweeter. Something more fruity, more like ripe pears and honey. The typical whiff of heathery smoke is there too.
The palate starts with the more sweet notes of honey, some ‘northern’ orchard fruits like apples and pears. There’s some oak and smoke too, with those slightly austere coastal notes of rocks, and a whiff off brine. The ABV is rather toned down and that’s noticeable, it leaves far more room for other flavors than peppery heat to come through, although there is a minor note of white pepper. There’s a rather surprising note of marmalade and orange chocolates too.
The finish continues seemlessly, but does transform after a few seconds to show a little bit more intensity, before mellowing down to show all the honeyed goodness that was promised on the palate. That orange-y note is here too.
This is exactly why I love these secret Orkneys that have been popping up over the last couple of years. Absolutely gorgeous whisky.
There is a lot of complexity, with lots of flavours to be discovered. Sweeter notes, with some austerity. Coastal notes with some orchard fruits. All is good here. The sherry cask is present, but not massively so, which I think is a good thing. It really leaves room for the amazing spirit to sing!