About this blog:

This blog will feature tasting notes, reviews, distillery visits and whisky news with focus mainly on Scottish single malts. This will sometimes be accompanied by politically incorrect (whisky) opinions. You have now been warned! :-)
The views expressed here are entirely my own, unless otherwise stated.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014


Xmas is upon us and its time to review the whisky pulled from the cupboard as this years Xmas whisky...
so before I move on to my review, I'd like to take the opportunity to wish you all a Merry Malt Xmas! :-)

My choice fell upon a Highland Park this year. I've always had a sweet spot for Highland Park as it was one of the first distilleries I tried back when I started my malt journey. Back then it was the standard 12 which compared to the others had back then really rocked... Many drams have passed since then and I'm now entering my 16th year of my malt journey and with that in mind, I wanted to grab something special, yet still something that I could relate to through the years (I know, I know... getting a bit sentimental at Xmas here)

My choice then fell upon a 1979 Highland Park bottled by Murray McDavid in the Mission-series, a sub bottling brand of Bruichladdich, before the islay distillery was sold last year to Remy Martin.

Highland Park, however is still in the hands of the Edrington group along with Macallan in Speyside (see my previous review) and Glenturret in Crieff, just west of Perth.

The Orkney Islands are more than Orkney Mainland, this picture is from Hoy, another island worth exploring, August 7th 2009 © The Malt Desk 

Highland Park 1979 25yo 46%, ex-bourbon cask, 750 bottles, Murray McDavid Mission series

Colour is full straw

Fruit and smoke hits you right away and both things seems to come to you in waves. It certainly feels like that when picking up your glass nosing it, putting it down and picking it up again... and surprisingly smoky it is... Maybe back in 1979 they were still doing a large portion of their own maltings at the distillery itself and this is the result of burning the peat a little too long? The fruits are quite evident, though. They are of the tropical kind... mango, sweet oranges, and melon and that ever present peat along with a fair dose of vanilla and nipping oak - just lovely!

Good and very balanced arrival. At first there's 2 seconds of oak and bitter before lush malt and fruit comes rushing in to save the day. Clearly now papaya and several types of melon notes. Also a little pineapple and hint of pistachio and a good layer of malt. The smoky edge is again ever present along with a little salt, making sure you don't forget that this is an Island malt. This never gets boring even though you could wish for it to maybe have been bottled at 50% rather than 46%...

This is very good whisky, no doubt... and a nice and refreshing one for Xmas as opposed to the sherried whiskies usually consumed at and associated with Xmas...


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