Highland Park 20 Years Old M.Wigman They Inspired Edition No.5 Qingling Cask 93 51.9% 1999
€ 296,45 (in Vat)
|Bottler||Michiel Wigman Dutch Whisky Connection|
|Serie||They Inspired Soon Qingling|
Michiel planned to do another two releases this year, and right after he emailed the participants that he couldn’t find casks of a high enough quality, these two popped up, so here they are. Or at least, here’s one of them. The other one (a 15 year old Longmorn) will pop up tomorrow or the day after.
This secret Orkney, which of course isn’t that secret at all, since this definitely isn’t Scapa, is Highland Park. A 19 year old one, nonetheless.
Michiel was kind enough to send me a sample since these don’t have to be labeled as the regular bottles do. So, tasting notes before the bottles are even on their way.
Dry, with a bit more heathery smoke than on the palate. Honey sweetness, with stewed apple, straw and oak. A hint of hessian, apple cores.
It’s lingering with some black pepper heat too. Oak, apple, heather, honey.
A 19 year old whisky is by no means a young whisky, but this tastes even more mature than it actually is. There’s a proper ‘old’ note in it, because of the depth of flavor. I expect this also has to do with the cask not being overly active and therefore having a better balance between wood and spirit.
This hits home in every which way, I love the apply notes with the more heavy notes of earth, straw and heather. Exceptional whisky.
Serge Valentin (90)
Featuring Soong Ching-ling, 'the mother of modern China'. Colour: straw. Nose: let’s be quick, this is one of those pure fresh immaculate HPs that are all on seawater, damp chalk, green olives, and lemons. With water: oh flour, grist, breads, damp papers, something a little muddy, perhaps… It would remain rather citrusy as long as you wouldn’t add too much water. Well it’s probably not the best swimmer of all times. Mouth (neat): yes, there, lemons, oysters, green pepper, chalk, paraffin, chilies… With water: what a perfect distillate but please do not drown it. It’s a Dutch bottling so water has to remain under control. Like. Seawater, brine, chalk, bay leaves… Finish: long and extremely briny now, with some coastal kind of smokiness. Comments: huge, massive whisky that just wouldn’t take any prisoners, with a smokiness that’s not very far from Talisker’s. This with hugs to our dear friend Bert V.
Words Of Whisky:
There’ve been sooooo many undisclosed Highland Park whiskies in recent years. To be honest, I quite quickly grew bored with them. Sure, they were good, but never great. And they were all pretty similar. So I haven’t reviewed one for twelve months, consciously avoiding them actually. Until now, because Michiel Wigman was kind enough to send me a sample of his bottling, a Secret Orkney 1999 20 Years.
Why have so many casks of Highland Park hit the market? I’ve even heard of one independent bottler being offered 50.000 liters of new make. There’s a plausible rumour that it had to do with the expense of building an über-modern spaceship of a Speyside distillery (owned by the same company), but otherwise I’ve no idea. Independent bottlers have jumped at the opportunity though, because it offered a chance at affordable, quality and mature whisky during a time when these usually come at a premium.
Although affordable is relative of course. Prices of undisclosed Highland Park have risen along with the rest of the industry. So if these are your jam, act now before you’re priced out of the market.
Nose: An elegant, somewhat waxy Highland Park with notes of honey, farmyard and wet pebbles. Just a touch of chalk, as well as ripe red apples and candied oranges. The smoke is incredibly subtle, almost non-existent.
Taste: Creamy with plenty of beeswax and soft heathery notes, as well as a decent salinity. A light mineral touch, but also briny green olives and just a whisper of peat smoke and roasted peanuts. It has some herbal qualities too, as well as soft notes of nutmeg and a pinch of pepper.
Finish: The salt makes an encore, followed by soft bonfire smoke and a whisper of lemon peel. Long.
An absolute winner, this Highland Park tastes mature beyond its years.