Nose: Initially quite closed, this needs time and water. Caramel, oranges, sherry, heather, coffee, and barley. With time we get cinnamon and sweet cocoa.
Palate: Thick, sweet mouthfeel. Big sherry, tangerines, sweet sultanas, dark berries, milk chocolate, peanut brittle, and some hazelnuts.
Finish: Medium length and sweet. There’s lots of heavy caramel, butter, tangerines, faint smoke, nuts, heather, baking spices, oak, licorice, and loads of both milk chocolate and dark chocolate.
Thoughts: This definitely benefits from water and time. Initially it’s a pretty closed-off whisky. The longer it sits in the glass, the more luxurious it becomes, as sherry, tangerines, and chocolate come to the fore. This is balanced and rich, and the evolution in the glass makes it especially interesting.
Overall this is a very solid Highland Park. It’s nice to have a member of their core range with a decent abv. As usual, the caramel note tends to steal some of the clarity of the peripheral flavours. But the traditional HP flavours of thick caramel, quality sherry, and lush barley are here in spades. A fantastic HP. NAS or not, the core range needed this.