onsdag 18 januari 2017

Glenfiddich - IPA Experiment 43% ABV

Dear friends and followers! In the beginning of november, Glenfiddich contacted me with info about a coming release, namely their "IPA Experiment". This whisky is the first one in their new "experimental series". The whisky (no age declared) has been finished in american oak barrels that previously held a Speyside IPA created especially for this end, that is, to give flavours to the casks. The IPA has been in the casks for 4 weeks and the whisky has in turn had a 12 week finish in the casks. 

For more info on the process and on this first whisky in the series, please feel free to check out this link. Here in Sweden, Glenfiddich IPA Experiment will be released this friday at the swedish state monopoly, and you can view the product here.

Since the nice people of Glenfiddich offered me a sample of this new whisky, it is time to share some nosing and tasting notes with you all, ok, let's go! 

Very fruity, the center of the nose first and foremost shows a focus on citrus fruits (sugar-y lemon juice and orange peel). There is also a tad of yellow kiwi. But above all the nose boasts of vanilla and fudge (completely intermingling in this whisky, that is to say, they are unseparable), light honey and loads of overripe banana. Also, nutt-y-ness is very evident (or is it almond?) 

starts off incredibly creamy and rich/"thick" (focus on vanilla cream and honey). interestingly enough, none of the citrus fruits are there, but overripe banana sure is! at the exact moment of swallowing, i get overripe pear and most of all lots of vanillafudge and honey. 10 seconds or so after swallowing everything gets very, very dry, and quite spicy actually, most of all though, very dry. After about 20 seconds or so, a slight, slight touch of cinnamon, coffee and very light milk chocolate comes along, interesting... the aftertaste is very long and above all, very dry, especially so on all of my tongue and the "upper mouth" 

So, to sum up, firstly: Is this a good whisky? Yes, definitely a really good everyday dram! If I remember the 12yo correctly i'd say that IPA Experiment is the best of the two. However it does not win over the 15yo Solera (but it might be unfair to compare two so different whiskies).
Secondly: as far as my nosing and tasting skill goes, I cannot seem to pick up the IPA reference in this whisky (not in terms of hops anyway) but hey, maybe it's the citrus fruits on the nose and the dryness on the taste that reflects the IPA touch? Who knows. Anyways, a nice soft and quite rich nose, the creamy part of the taste was really nice, but for me the dryness was just a tad to much, almost like as if it is another whisky in the aftertaste than in the first part of the taste. All in all a very interesting experiment but to make the IPA reference and the hops come through the whisky should, in my opinion, have spent more time finishing in the casks 

Big thanks and sláinte to Glenfiddich for the opportunity to taste this whisky before it's release! 😃 
Please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here, my twitter-page by clicking here, and my instagram by clicking here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes and text by SamuelWhisky and pictures likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro[at]gmail.com 

all rights reserved/copyright belongs to Glenfiddich

lördag 5 november 2016

Swedish whisky from Box – Dálvve 46% ABV

Dear friends and followers! Yesterday I was very lucky to receive a package containing something very exciting, a sample of the first ”core range”/signature malt whisky from the swedish distillery Box! So far, they have focused on releasing various (very high quality) limited editions. Since the distillery is quite young indeed, it is understandable that these limited editions have not been very big releases in terms of number of bottles. 

However, when I visited Box Distillery about 1,5 years ago (read all about it here), they mentioned that they soon will release a core range whisky. And now, they are at that point! 

As you might know, Box Distillery, known as ”The High Coast Distillery”, is one of the worlds most northern distilleries. Drawing on their nordic location and their nordic heritage, for their core range whisky/signature malt they have borrowed it’s name and taken inspiration from the language of the indigenous Sami people, choosing to call their whisky Dálvve, simply meaning winter. Dálvve will be released at the swedish state monopoly this monday, please follow this link to view it. 

For a change, and very unusual for being Box Distilley, the pressrelease enclosed with the sample did not contain any info at all regarding the age, maturation etcetera of the whisky. Therefor, I decided to send a text to the Distilley Manager/Master Distiller Roger Melander with these questions:

1. In short notes, what is the recipe for Dálvve? Types of casks used, ratio of peat, age?
2. How many bottles have been stashed away for the Swedish state monopoly of this first batch?
3. From batch to batch, will the recipe of Dállve change concerning the age?

This is what Roger was kind enough to reply: 
Dálvve is matured completely in bourbon casks. Mostly 200 litre casks but also some 135 litre casks. Circa 24% of the whisky has been peated (11ppm on average). The youngest drops are 5,07 years old and an average age of 5,26 years old. 9000 bottles of batch 01 is set aside for the state monopoly. In total circa 14000 bottles have been produced. The style will be the same but of course with variations from batch to batch”. 

Ok, very exciting indeed, let’s see what we have here!

In the very front of the nose, the first layer, there is a really, really softly whispering and discrete kind of vanilla intermingling quietly with fruits such as medium-ripe pears and swedish winter apples. There is also some kind of superslight touch of light honey. In the second layer an oak-y-ness is definitely calling for attention in the form of fir tree, not really christmas tree but anyways, it’s fir, maybe even fir branches? This reminds me of the very specific kind of nose that swedish oak maturation does for the whisky from Box… Nosing deeper into the second layer I happen to find some ”burnt” notes, however no smoke, peat or ashes, rather roasted almonds and newly charred oak. Going even deeper, in the third layer we have something reminding me of lime sugar syrup, mmm… All in all, this is a very calm version of Box, the nose is very soft but still interesting, elegant but very intriguing. Ok, let’s have a taste!

Well, it’s definitley whisky from Box Distillery! (if you’ve tasted their whisky before you will recognise their profile). Starts of quite complex indeed with a perfect (and quite schizophrenic) mix of sugary sweet and coastal salt-yness. The sweetness could also be interpreted as some kind of citric sweet flavours mixed with a liquorice salt-y peatiness… Actually, the peat kind of grows on you, evolving quite fast! In the beginning of the taste there is a slight hint of young whisky but as the peat grows the (young) age is definitely something that looses focus. When the peat slowly goes away from the palate the oak-y-ness and the fir tree along with the slightly ”burnt notes” takes the overhand, even something reminding me of something like juniper… In the aftertaste all of this developes into a medium dryness. Finally, it fades out into vanilla and fruit-y-ness… All in all, the strength of 46% ABV is a perfect choice, and due to the ”burnt notes” alongside with the slight peaty-ness it feels a bit stronger than 46. 

To sum up: A job well done! Dálvve is a really good whisky and considering the fact that you can get a 70 cl bottle of circa 5yo swedish whisky for around €50 is just great! This style of whisky I think is very easy for most people to like, just a slight touch of peat on the nose and a tad more peat on the taste/palate. Very likeable indeed and as i metioned, soft but still interesting, elegant but very intriguing ☺ Big thanks to the nice people of Box Distillery for the opportunity to taste this whisky and an extra thanks to Roger for being so kind to answer my questions on a Saturday! Sláinte!

Please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here, and my twitter-page by clicking here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes and text by SamuelWhisky and pictures likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro[at]gmail.com 
picture belongs to Box Distillery

tisdag 11 oktober 2016

Highland Park Single Cask 6403 and 2121 for Sweden only!!!

Dear friends and followers, today, to my big surprise, I received a mystery package from a mystery sender! I was indescribably happy when I discovered that the package contained the two coming releases of Single Cask Highland Park, for Sweden only! It also contained a nice little info-card. When I recently had the great honor and pleasure to visit Highland Park distillery (read all about it here) I was told about these two single casks and that they would soon be released, so as you all can understand it is a great satisfaction to finally be able to try them, and to try them before they are being released! 

[Edit2: It has now come to my attention that the launch of cask 2121 has been set to the 8th of december. The delay was due to an unfortunate miss-labelling of the ABV; it was marked 60,5% ABV but should in fact have been 59,7%. The bottles have now been sent back for re-labelling and the product can be viewed at the webpage of the state monopoly from the 1st of december]

[Edit1: Dear friends and followers, today, on the 17th of October, an employee at Edrington Sweden contacted me to let me know, and help spread that the launch of cask 2121 sadly has been delayed. The new date for it's release has not yet been set but it will be available sometime later this year, probably in december. Feel free to check in every now and then to stay updated on the new release date as I will edit this post instantly when I know more. Please note that the state monopoly has not yet changed the info on the release date of cask 2121 so it is still possible to view it, but we can expect them to withdraw the product from their webpage and/or change the date within a number of days. However, cask 6403 will be released this Thursday as was originally set from the beginning, and you can view it by clicking here]

The first bottling/cask for Sweden has an ABV of 58,6% and is from cask no. 6403, a first fill sherry European Hogshead that resulted in 300 bottles. The whisky from this cask is 13 years old

The second bottling/cask for Sweden has an ABV of 59,7% and is from cask no. 2121, a first fill sherry American Butt that resulted in 600 bottles. The whisky from this cask is 14 years old

As you all can imagine,  given that they are both first fill sherry (and oloroso I assume), it will be very interesting indeed to be able to compare the differences between european oak and american oak. Anyways, both of them will be released at the state monopoly on the 20th of october and we can expect them to be sold out within seconds!

Ok, let's begin with cask 6403 since that has the lowest ABV of the two!

Cask 6403 front
13yo/cask 6403 Nose:
Very, very, very dark notes going on here… now this is what I would call a heavily sherrymatured whisky! Completely boasting of and/or drowning in dried figs! Oh, also leather! There is also full-fat unwhipped cream, white chocolate (yes white), but there’s also dark raisins that have been dipped in medium dark milk chocolate… very slight or distant touches of something like mint… in the very top register is something very sweet and citric, not really lemonjuice but rather dried slices of lemon and lemon peel that is intermingling perfectly with the sligt touches of alchol. By the way, the strength of this baby is hardly noticeable on the nose. And what about the peat? Well it’s just there somewhere in the background, hardly noticeable, maybe in the form of licorice…

Cask 2121 front (before re-labelling)

14yo/cask 2121 Nose:
Oooh! 2121 is completely different from the previous! It’s also a sherrybomb but not at all in the same way. In this one I’d actually say that we have some very damp notes, something like an underground cellar, reminding me very much of the scents in a warehouse with all the maturing casks… I’m taken straight back to HP-warehouse no.3! Besides those wharehouse-y notes it’s extremely hard to not pick up the huge amounts of vanilla, the honey-infused new make, and most of all, the enormous amounts of heather! Maybe even heather-honey! Yes, heather-honey mixing beautifully with jelly-sweets of peach flavor. The alcohol? Not even noticeable. The peat? Even more distant than in the previous one…

Cask 6403 back

13yo/cask 6403 Taste:
Oh my God (or Thor)! (yelling it straight out sitting here all by myself). Begins quite brown-sugary sweet actually, but then huge wawes of something like ”peated sherry” takes over very quickly! After that everything gets very dry indeed, very quickly. I feel vanilla fudge-cubes, a very interesting mix of mint and evident peat (never felt that mix before…), as well as a mix of leather and cold coffee… Wow, the dryness surely jumps up on you. People, this dram should righteously be described as very, very complex! 

Cask 2121 back (before re-labelling)

14yo/cask 2121 Taste:
Once again, completely different than the previous one! The differences between the european oak in the previous one and the american oak in this one is to say the least, striking! This one also begins sweet but not at all in the sugar-y way, rather in the vanilla way, and that’s vanilla with a big V. Also the vanilla is kind of burnt, and kind of moves towards coffe with very much milk in it, or actually something like coffee liqueur. Other than that we also have so much fruit in this one, such as pear, dried peach and white raisins. This one is also very dry but here the dryness does not hit you that early, it is rather dry predominantly in the aftertaste, moving towards a mix of heather honey, quite bitter liquorice and most of all dry peat mingling with something like earl grey tea. 

To sum up
People, these two whiskies both show off the very high quality of whisky being produced at Highland Park distillery, and the high quality you can attain by picking out single casks. For me, I would of course not say no to owning any of these two bottlings, but my favourite is definietely the 13yo/cask 6403! I hope that I don’t have to choose but that I am lucky enough to get a hold of both bottles, then I could sit for hours and ponder over the fascinating differences between european oak and american oak

Big thanks to the mystery sender, and also, big thanks to my great friend and colleague Stefan for sending me the nice pictures of the two bottles! Please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here, and my twitter-page by clicking hereCopyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes and text by SamuelWhisky and pictures likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro[at]gmail.com 

torsdag 1 september 2016

Laphroaig Lore 48% ABV!

Dear friends and followers!

Before the summer, I was very lucky to receive a small package from the very nice people at Edrington here in Sweden. I opened it and to my great joy and excitement the package seemed to contain a leather-bound book of some sort! 

I opened the book and this is what first met my eyes 

I turned the first page and this is what I found

Yes! A miniature sample of the new Laphroaig Lore

Now, as you all might understand, the word “Lore” kind of draws on something like folk-lore. And in this case the “folk” is meant to stand for the “folk” of  Laphroaig, more specifically Distillery Managers of Laphroaig in past and recent times passing on “the Laphroaig traditions and his personal knowledge to the next, ensuring that the unique skills and process of this historic distillery can be found in every bottle” (laphroaig.com)

So the concept or idea behind Laphroaig Lore is the following: “Since 1815, each Laphroaig Distillery Manager has been the custodian of the craft to make the richest single malt in the world. Over the years, each has passed on their skills and traditions to the next generation to continue this legacy. To honour this passing of knowledge, our Distillery Manager John Campbell has created Laphroaig Lore, the richest ever Laphroaig. Lore, meaning the passing of a skill or tradition through word of mouth, is the story of how we make Laphroaig, encapsulating the craft passed down from generation to generation over two centuries” (laphroaig.com). 

Ok folks, that might be just enough background info, right? Moving on, Lore does not have an age statement, and even though one can find out at least some details regarding what casks have been used for maturation via laphroaig.com it’s all a bit “messy”… Luckily, my fellow blogger colleagues over at Whiskytower were lucky enough to be able to get an interview with the current manager/master distiller of Laphroaig, John Campbell, and this is what John shared on the topic of age and casks used for Lore:

“4 main flavours were created in Lore. We are looking to show what makes Laphroaig richer than all other whisky’s and the main characteristics we have already discussed. So we want peaty, fruity, floral and dry so I have added 6 different whiskys together to create this recipe. For Fruity I used 21 year old bourbons and 10 year old fully matured oloroso hogshead liquids, for Peaty I used 8 year old first fill bourbons (my favourite age of Laphroaig), for floral I used 8 year old Bourbons double matured into virgin European oak for 3 years and for the dry I used Laphroaig new spirit fully matured in quarter casks for 9 years (soo dry!!) and last liquid is a 15 year old liquid to add cask oils for depth of flavour” (link to the interview) 

So, now we know! Here in Sweden, Laphroaig Lore is released tomorrow (2nd of September 2016), and you can check it out here

Ok, let’s see what’s on the nose:
Well, unmistakably Laphroaig! Reminds me very much of the Laphroaig Quarter Cask, the Lore sort 
of has that big fat, and robust peaty-ness and oaky-ness that the QC has, but not just as much… I’d say that in total the Lore is more on ashes, burned seaweed/ burnt out fire on the beach, and also another kind of sweetness than the QC (from what I remember in my head that is…). The sweetness sort of draws on sherry-sweetness but also something like vanilla and coconut milk/Rhum (just a tad). I also get just a peedie hint of brown (raw) sugar and sniffing an emptied bourbon cask. 

Ok, let’s see what I pick up on the mouth:
Wow/Ouch! Very, very peaty indeed! And quite sweet, but just for a peedie bit, a second or so, cause after that it moves very quickly into the burned ashes, burned seaweed, cool! I’ve never felt any Laphroaig move into that specific flavour-phase so fast, this is a really interesting experience! What’s even more interesting is that one can really feel that John has used many very different expressions of Laphroaig in the mixture, in terms of complexity. One example of this, as I get it, is that beneath the ashes and the seaweed, I find the sherry sweetness (in this case dark raisins) and the burning power from what I assume can not be anything else then the use of the 9yo fully matured in quarter casks. So when I have the whisky in my mouth it really starts to “burn”, and when I’ve swallowed it first turns into soft vanilla for just a second or two and then it burns and evolves in this burning way more and more. The aftertaste goes on for about a minute and a half and leaves my mouth with first and foremost dryness, and then vanilla-sweetness… 

If you haven’t tried the Lore, don’t miss it! It’s a great experience to be had by all hard core Laphroaig fans out there!

A big thanks to the nice people at Edrington for giving the opportunity to try Laphroaig Lore before the release here in Sweden! Please make sure to follow my FB-page by going here, and my twitter-page by going here.

Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes and text by SamuelWhisky and pictures likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro[at]gmail.com 
copyright belongs to abbeywhisky.com

tisdag 2 augusti 2016

My journey to Highland Park Distillery!

Friends and followers! As some of you might have understood from a post on my FB-page I recently experienced a fantastic journey to the Orkney Islands. More precisely the destination was the little town of Kirkwall (sort of the capitol of the Orkney Islands) and even more precisely: The Highland Park Distillery! But what was the background for this trip? How did it come about? Well, as you all know I’ve been working the whiskyfestivals and fairs for Edrington since 2012, mostly taking care of my favourite brands Connemara and Laphroaig. 

During the last night of this years festival in Gothenburg, Senior Brand Ambassador Martin Markvardsen and Dani, the Fair Coordinator of Edrington, shared the fantastic news to me and my fellow colleague Stefan, that they were both very happy with our contributions during the recent years and that they therefore wanted to show their appreciation. Hence, we were invited to see Orkney and the Highland Park Distillery partly as a ”Thank you!” and partly as a training. Perhaps you could even call it an education trip in order learn more about the distillery and the whisky being produced there. Now if you ask me, that’s simply a great way to say ”Thank you”! So, in this post I will share my journey, experiences, and some nice pictures with you my dear friends and followers. Oh, and further on in this post I also have the great privilege to share some exciting news of what the future holds… 

Sunday 24th of July
We had travelled from Stockholm to Amsterdam and from Amsterdam to Aberdeen. In Aberdeen we were lucky enough to enjoy some Highland Park 30yo! 

HP 30yo, what an amazing dram!
Then, in the early afternoon we found ourselves boarding the very small propeller airplane (30 seats) that was taking us the 30 minute ride or so to the Kirkwall Airport. The plane indeed turned out to be quite bumpy…  

Stefan to the left, SamuelWhisky to the right. Copyright belongs to Dani Skaff
Bumpy ride but Stefan seems fine about it all :)
Looking down on beautiful Orkney
We arrived safe and sound at the Kirkwall Airport!

Finally back on the ground! Copyright belongs to Dani Skaff
Martin met up with us as the airport. During our stay he was our ”personal guide”, sharing and knowing all that is worth to know about the Viking history of Orkney, as well as all there is to know about the past and present of Highland Park Distillery! Wow, what an honor! 

After checking in at the small and picturesque Orkney Hotel... 

The entrance

The view from my room!

we headed for the bar to have some lunch and a couple of pints. 

Having a peedie pint!

After that Martin took us all to see the great and beautiful St Magnus Cathedral situated in the very center of Kirkwall. 

The grand St Magnus cathedral!

The cathedral was built in honour of Magnus Erlendsson, earl of (half of) the Orkney Islands between 1108-1115. The building of the cathedral started in 1134 or in 1137 depending on which source one turns to. Anyways, why were we taken there to see the cathedral? What relation is there beetween the St Magnus Cathedral and the Highland Park Distillery? Well, as Martin tells us in this picture 

the ”churchman” Magnus Eunson, and more importantly the founder of Highland Park Distillery, hid away some stocks of his maturing whisky from the exciseman. Where he hid it? Below the church floor of course! 

Inside the cathedral, wow! Copyright belongs to Dani Skaff

During the service in the church (!) Eunson took notes of who of the people in the congregation that wanted to order some of his whisky. What a daredevil! 

Beautiful right?!

We ended the day by having dinner at a really nice restaurant, as a starter I had some local beer and deep fried Haggis, served with what seemed to be a mango chutney, yummie!

The best Haggis I've ever had! 

Monday 25th of July
After a full scottish breakfast at the hotel (yummie again!), Martin took us to see the moor/bog where they cut the peat used in the kiln for drying the malted barley. The name of the moor is Hobbister.

Hobbister peat! Copyright belongs to Dani Skaff
Martin points out to the boundaries of Hobbister. Copyright belongs to Dani Skaff

"Some" drying peat

Seeing the moor and its surroundings was a great experience, I now understand a lot more about peat and its different layers

The peat layers from above is "Fogt", "Yarphie" and finally "Moss"

I’ve also experienced what makes the peat of Highland Park so special. That’s right, Hobbister is litterally covered in heather, and the peat is full of it as well. This is what makes Highland Park whisky smell and taste so beautiful of heather honey!

Lots and lots of heather on Hobbister!

Old Man of Hoy?! Nope, it’s ”The Young Man of Hobbister”
The four Young Men of Hobbister. Copyright belongs to Dani Skaff
After seeing Hobbister we went to see ’The round church of Bu’ 

and more importantly we visited the great ’Ring of Brodgar’! Wow what a mysterious and beautiful place! 

Some of the mighty stones at the 'Ring of Brodgar'! Copyright belongs to Dani Skaff
SamuelWhisky next to one of the "small" stones...
Before leaving we where lucky enough to taste Earl Magnus Edition no.1

Earl Magnus Edition no.1. 15yo at 52,6% ABV

After some lunch and a pint we finally headed to the Highland Park Distillery! 

SamuelWhisky at the gates of Highland Park Distillery. Copyright belongs to Dani Skaff
While we visited the distillery there was a kind of ”silent season” at the distillery, or rather  ”refurbishment season” lasting for three whole weeks. This means there was no production going on. However, that did in no way stop Martin from showing us just about everything worth seeing at the distillery! 

(Unmalted) barley

SamuelWhisky turning some barley at the malting floor. Copyright belongs to Dani Skaff 
Entrance to the new Kiln, one of two kilns at the distillery
SamuelWhisky standing by the new Kiln. In this kiln the peating goes on for 20-24 hours resulting in a peating level of around 45ppm. This peated malt is then mixed with unpeated malt resulting in a peating level of 12-15ppm. Copyright belongs to Dani Skaff

One of the two kiln dryingfloors (just above the kiln). 

We went all the way up the rooftop and stood just beside the two pagoda-chimneys, it was a bit windy... An absolutely amazing view from up there! Copyright belongs to Dani Skaff
Martin standing beside one of the washbacks. This is where the yeast converts the sugar to alcohol, reaching about 7% ABV. The fermentation goes on for about 55-79 hours. 
SamuelWhisky in the Still House. The two wash stills bring the ABV to 28% and the two spirit stills brings it all the way up to between 69-71% ABV! Copyright belongs to Dani Skaff.

The entrance to warehouse no.3
Unfortunately we were not allowed to take any photos in there, but it had the most wonderful scents!
The cask filling room, completely empty for another three weeks...
The cask filling station
At the end of the distillery tour we had the opportunity to smell an empty bourbon cask and then an empty sherry cask. 

Mmm! Wonderful scents! Copyright belongs to Dani Skaff
Right next to those casks stood this beautiful cask marked ”1968”, which we also had the opportunity to sniff, unfortunately is was empty...

Laid down in 1968, emptied in 2016

I was so sad cause I really wanted to taste something during our visit that was drawn straight from cask. When we had sniffed the 1968 cask, Martin asked with a secretive voice: ”Do you wanna taste it?!”. To our joy and surprise he had actually prepared a peedie dram for each  one of us from this very cask. The ABV was 40,1% so as you can all understand it had been bottled in order to prevent it from going below 40% It was an amazing experience to taste a single cask HP at such a prominent age as 48yo! The whisky was drawn in the month of april 2016 from an american white oak hogshead that had previously contained oloroso sherry! I think you can all imagine the feeling... As with all of Highland Parks sherry casks this one was built and filled in Jerez

Yay! 48yo SC HP!
After the tour we were invited to Martins office for an absolutely amazing tasting.

SamuelWhisky is ready to have a taste! 
As you can see from the pictures below we sure enjoyed some very, very special bottlings!

The line-up! Copyright belongs to Dani Skaff.
 And, in order to get some perspective, we started of with some Highland Park New Make. Oh no, not the 50% version available in the shop, instead Martin had managed to source some of their new make at filling strength (69,8%)! Wow! After that we enjoyed and old version of the 12yo, bottled in 1998 (The average age in this version is 18 years old but it goes all the way up to 25 years old). Then we tasted the core range 18yo that is produced today, followed by the core range 21yo, also produced today. Then we were happily surprised to see the Bicentenary 21yo! A great dram indeed

Bicentenary vintage 1977!
After that we moved on to a very special whisky: A distillery exclusive hand filled bottling, just over 600 bottles, a 13yo at vatting strength 53,3% ABV, matured in american oak sherry hogsheads. Let me tell you people, this was a great one and so I am glad that I decided to buy a bottle to bring with me home. 

Nice and wow! 
And finally, the tasting ended to our joy with the Vintage 1970, at 40 years old! 

Tuesday 26th of July
We started off our last day with visiting and having a tour at the Scapa Distillery (but that is another story). After that we drove on to see the very kind Mr. Ian Moir. As some of you know Ian is the Orkney-based ambassador of the fanclub Highland Park Appreciation Society. Ian generously invited us to the bar he built by himself from scratch, and very, very genrously he also let us enjoy a couple of drams of our own choosing. 

Dani, Ian, Martin and Stefan
After that, we visited a place that I had really longed for. Yes, the Cliffs of Yesnaby! I have only experienced something similar once before, namely the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. But the Cliffs of Yesnaby was so much greater and in some ways grander with its rugged, mysterious and boasting surroundings. 

The Cliffs of Yesnaby! Copyright belongs to Dani Skaff

Simply incredible!
The experience was even more amazing when Martin pulled out a bottle of the very recent bottling ”The Battle of Jutland” 11yo, at 64% ABV! Wow! 

"The Battle of Jutland", sadly sold out by now...

As you can see from this video an absolutely amazing experience and feeling to try this fantastic whisky at such a fantastic place! Then and there I felt so alive!

Sláinte and Skål! Copyright belongs to Dani Skaff
After this great experience and some lunch on the move, we headed for the last stop of our journey, which was the Swannay Brewery!. Truly a microbrewery. Their founder and headbrewer Rob Hill is a fantastically interesting and eccentric man and here his work has rightly been described as "Genuinely at the intersection of art, science and madness". Rob welcomed us with open arms and basically showed us the entire brewery inside out. 

Rob Hill :)
Beautiful brewery!
The best part of our visit to his brewery was when he ran off into one of the rooms in the brewery, asked us to follow him and then let us sniff all kinds of more or less extreme hops of all varieties. The most extreme had a nose reminiscent of curry and cheese! Before leaving we of course visited their shop to pick up some of their fantastic beer. 

The shop at Swannay Brewery
In the bar at the hotel we had already tried some of their beer, and since we already knew they produce some really good stuff we could kind of just buy anything, knowing they would all be great! Oh, by the way, Swannay Brewery and Highland Park Distillery will soon start with beer and whisky paring, so if you are headed to the distillery, don’t miss out on some great beer and some great whisky in combo!

Soooo happy! 
Well friends, that’s about my whole story about this journey to Highland Park Distillery, and if we meet at some of the festivals in Sweden I am very happy to tell you some more about it if you feel like it! Oh yes, I almost forgot! I have som very exclusive news to share exclusively with you my friends and followers: During our visit to Highland Park Distilery it came to my understanding that later this year, there will be two (maybe three) Highland Park single cask bottlings launched in Sweden, that have been chosen exclusively for the Swedish fans of Highland Park! Who more than me longs for that moment?!

Anyways, big, big thanks to Martin and Dani for inviting me and Stefan to visit Orkney and Highland Park Distillery. An absolutely amazing experience… Also a special thanks to Johanna at Edrington! It was amazing and I can’t wait to see you soon and work with you all again! Sláinte! 

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