tisdag 30 januari 2018

Highland Park Full Volume and (vs.) The Dark!

Dear friends and followers alike! Today I bring you my tasting notes and impressions of two fairly new expressions from Highland Park! The first one is called Full Volume and the other one is called The Dark. (I bought a sample of FV from a friend, and the sample of TD was provided to me by Edrington Sweden whilst working for them at last years Örebro Beer and Whisky festival, just days before its release). 

Here in Sweden the FV, which you can delve into here, will be launched the 1st of February (view the product by clicking here). TD, which you can delve into here, was (re)launched yesterday (view it by clicking here). FV will only be available for four days via a web-launch, and TD will be available via the "order assortment" until it is sold out.

Now, what I find very interesting with comparing these two expressions is the fact that they are completely different and sort of opposites from each other in terms of casks used for the maturation; FV has been matured in first-fill bourbon casks only, while TD has been matured in first fill european oak sherry casks only. Further on they are both 17 years old, and the strength differs just slightly with FV coming in at 47,2% and TD coming in at 52,9% 

Full Volume to the left, The Dark to the right
The way I went about doing this "comparison" was that I first nosed FV and then nosed TD, and then tasted FV and of course ended with tasting TD. Ok, here are the results:

Full Volume nose:
Very, very creamy! The creamyness mostly draws on caramel (sweet shop) and fudge, but there is definitely something to do with vanilla cream and oldstyle vanilla ice-cream going on here. The creamyness is absolutely wonderful, mmm… Also, lots and lots of fruits-y stuff going on here; citrus fruits, lemon peel, super overripe pears, overripe banana, red chewing gum, and so on. The peat is sort of there but definitely hiding way behind all the creamyness and the citrus fruits-y-ness. Below the peat, in the distant, there is some almond (and perhaps even hazelnuts?) going on. There is an absolutely perfect balance between the ABV and the entire nose, wow! It does not at all feel like 47,2% 

Full Volume taste:
A tad of peaty salt together with full fat butter shows up for a wee bit, but then moving on into half-sugar-y barley (something very barley-ish going on here indeed), almost instantly it turns medium dry. Wow, a really ”meaty”, chewy and fat dram this one! For sure. Then it turns into something medium bitter/herbal that really reminds me of bitter/acrid citrus peel; but more orange peel than lemon peel, maybe even orange flavoured milk chocolate? So the fruitsy stuff from the nose is in fact in the taste but not at all in that caramel-sweet shop style that was on the nose. The strength really does turn up on the taste in a way it did not do on the nose. The strength makes it become more and more dry and finally gives way to burnt wood and Ouzo (the greek spirit drink), that was unexpected!

The Dark nose:
Lots and lots of brown sugar, over-sugared oatmeal porridge with warm milk, medium dark swedish baking syrup (molasses), dark milk chocolate, raisins completely drenched in sherried HP, a tad of violet, and for being a sherried HP also quite alot of vanilla in fact. There is some salty-ness going on in the very deep layers, and also some salt-roasted almonds. Surrounding everything is the signature heather honey and it is soo soft although its quite high ABV indeed.

The Dark taste:
Mmm! Starts of on sherry sweetness (you know) and sugar syrup, very sweet indeed for being HP. Then the over-sugared oatmeal porridge with warm milk actually does return here on the taste. Also, there is lots of viscous almond paste which really comes through in the strength. Then comes a touch of sweet licorice, but most of all cocoa powder slightly stirred in full fat cream at room temperature. This dram is also quite ”meaty” and chewy indeed but in a much more complex and dark way. The aftertaste holds something mint-flavoured-ish, earthy peat, and finally slips away/clinging off with dark raisins and an above medium dryness. Very well composed indeed, this is definitely to my liking!

So, summing up: if I had to choose between these two it would be… no, seriously, it's really hard to choose; Full Volume is so good beacuse of it’s extremely perfect balance, the fact that the taste is so different from the nose, and of course because of the price level. This quite unusual style of HP really deserves to be compared to the more "usual" and classic style of HP that is in The Dark; a classic sherried HP which boasts a very well composed dram. Also, comparison is particularly interesting given the fact that the age is the same. But, of course, in the end Full Volume does has a wee bit of advantage in price when it comes to choosing between the two. On the other hand, sherry casks are more expensive than bourbon casks, although I of course do realise that a part of the cost is due to the special bottle and the exclusive wooden packaging. Anyhow, a great pair of drams awaits the ones who decides to buy both of them  

Big thanks to the people at Edrington Sweden for the opportunity to try The Dark! Which I was able to do simply because you provided a sample. Please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here, my instagram 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 and by stating the source

SamuelWhisky is very happy to join The Dark side!