Two of the most recent bottlings from Highland Park are 17YO expressions named “The Dark” and “ The Light”.
These are truly fine craft and exist only in limited bottlings…only about 28,000. Time after time, I just don’t know how they do it. I think both the distillery and marketing teams are really feeling supercharged about what they are doing with Whisky in Orkney, and how the world is listening and responding.
I’m honored to have my wee bottlings here, and show them both in the glass. I’ll admit I judge all other whiskies of the world against the incredibly high bar Highland Park has set. Each have the heather peat I expect from my family’s old stomping grounds. Both are bottled at 52.9% ABV. After this, the differences start to kick in. The Dark is a darker naturally colored whisky. It’s matured in 100% first fill seasoned Sherry casks. Highland Park does not artificially color their whisky like other top labels. To me, this one is a bit spicy, but rich. I get dried fruit, fruitcake….wonderful smoke. Just wonderful rich flavor I expect in a truly rare bottling. An easily addicting dram, and regrettably a fine bottle that would empty far too quickly at my house.
For The Light, they use a different cask which is a 100% refill American Oak. Apart from sweet and smoke on the nose, I get some spice along with another note I expect out of American Oak which is pineapple. Being American Oak this is a so much lighter colored whisky. This is a superb dram, folks. Far above what I can afford in a bottle. These whiskies are so fine, I can imagine how hard it must be for owners to decide whether to share such beauty and craft or keep it away for themselves.
For me, I have the most fun sharing my Highland Park whiskies with others. I like observing others as the nose and taste. I like seeing the look in their eyes. I also like to point out keeping the empty glass handy to come back nose a while after the glass is empty. That look of reflection we all get at the fine aromas lingering in the glass…..