Let’s do something fun and compare two Highland Parks, namely the 21yo and the 25yo! The first Highland Park I bought was the 18yo and that was a looong time ago. It took a while for me to try HP again but when I did I really fell in love with it, not to wonder since it was the 30yo! : ) Anyway, I haven’t really done tasting notes on any HP but now the oppurtunity has come thanks to some ”samples” from Dani at Edrington. So big thanks to you Dani!
The info I have managed to source from the Highland Park website is this: The 21yo is predominantly matured in american oak seasoned with sherry. The 25yo is matured in up to 50% firstfill sherry casks, predominantly european oak is used. The proportions other than that seemed a little hard to find out so I sent an e-mail to Martin Markvardsen asking for some complimentary info and this is what he replied:
”21yo American cask seasoned with sherry, 20 % first fill... the rest of the casks used are predominantly American oak [bourbon casks] but there are some Spanish casks used as well (…) 25yo all European oak, with 50% first fill dry oloroso cask”
Thanks Martin for that info! Okey, let’s compare them!
The basic nose on the 21yo is sherry, although quite a proportion of the casks used are bourbon casks. Not ”in-your-face-sherry” but rather soft and elegant with an emphasis on sultana raisins… There is something in there that reminds me of oranges (kind of zesty) and chocolate, also there is brown sugar and quite a lot of vanilla, finally something like red apple-peel. Just a little bit of peat. The balance between these things are incredible!
Turning to the 25yo you really get a lot deeper sherry notes, the difference between them is striking actually. Here we have dark moist raisins, a mix of fresh and dried figs, and dates with dark honey. The orange is there to, in the very center of everything, but this time it’s really citric and calls for your attention. Going from glass to glass when nosing I’d say that the peat is quite a lot more evident in the 21yo than in this one where it more tamed and has calmed down…
Mmm, hehehe, I can’t help my self from laughing out loud cause this is such a ridiculously good whisky! It is so balanced that it’s even hard to describe, but a lot of ”dark” flavours that quite fast move on into some kind of raw-sugar-coated-dried figs if there ever was such a thing… Very sweet but still medium-dry if you know what I mean. The vanilla is warm and elegant, this whisky really takes care of my tounge. Beautiful
Hehe : ) This one too is incredibly good! More full-bodied. Here we really have big, dark, moist, raisins and dried but still juicy figs… It it so soft that it’s unbelieveable. You can’t even feel the alcohol… Drinking this nectar feels more like drinking a mixture of oloroso sherry, whisky, dark slowly flowing liquid honey and raw-sugar, than actually drinking whisky. It’s crazy… The peat is barely there. After having tried the 25yo I really get what people mean when they talk about the ”heather honey” of Highland Park. Absolutely beautiful…
To sum up the 21yo and the 25yo are both great and do have their own qualities. As you can see in the picture below the color is almost the same although the 25yo is bigger on the sherry. If you want a great balance between sherry influence and soft peat then go for the 21yo, if you want a more full-bodied but still soft sherry bomb then go for the 25yo. But please, don’t miss out on them! If you have the oppurtunity, then do try them both. If I had to I'm afraid I couldn’t possibly choose between them… Slainthé!
|21yo to the left|