Highland Park 1986 (Mo Or) Review

“Beautiful Nose”

Whisky Review # 621

Country: Scotland
Region: Highland - Islands - Orkney
Brand: Highland Park 1986 (Mo Or Collection)
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Whisky
Age: 24 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Hogshead
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: Around US$ 170 (July 2017). Not widely available anymore. 
Buying Advice: 😋  Positive. The Great Nose justifies the Price Tag.

Colour: White Whine (Natural Colour)

Quite Light but nevertheless fully matured. Very interesting! The Oak is certainly present but quite inoffensive. The Alcohol is nicely integrated. A light veil of Peat welcomes your Nose and it's quite stunning actually. Well done! On the Nose this Highland Park is mildly Sweet. Fresh Apple Crumb Pie, prepared with quality Salted Butter and a sprinkle of Cinnamon. I also find Malted Barley, Heather-Honey, Grass, Dusty Straw, Vanilla, Lemon, Grapefruit, Mint, Licorice and traces of stale Cigar Ashes, Wax and Leather. Understated but Sophisticated sums it up pretty neatly. Quality Nose. Be sure to give this Malt enough time in the glass.

Good delivery thanks to the adequate ABV. Quite tasty but not as Sophisticated as on the Nose. The Oak is more noticeable by now although never in an annoying way. On the Palate I find Sweet, Salty, Herbal and mildly Sour notes like Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Straw, Dusty Road, Licorice, Menthol, Dried Herbs, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, light Pepper, Tobacco, light Peat, Toasted Nuts, Lemon, Grapefruit, Tangerine, Melon and Green Apple.

Quite Long and Warming. The Toasted Oak is quite noticeable by now but cask # 2275 was certainly a good one. The Finish is a mix of Sweet, Salty, Herbal and mildly Bitter notes such as Sweet Barley, Tea with Sugar and Lemon, light Earthy Peat, Salted Nuts, Licorice, light Menthol, Tobacco, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Dried Herbs, Dusty Road, Tangerine and Green Apple.

Drinking Advice
Due to the fact that I only had a small sample at my disposal, I only nosed and tasted this Highland Park neat.

Rating: 86.5 

Nose: 22.5 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 21.5 - Overall: 21.5

General Remarks:

🏣   The Distillery, The Bottler and Today's Whisky:

The distillery was founded in 1798 by David Robertson and is located in Kirkwall on the Orkney Islands. In 2016 they produced well over 2 million litres. The distillery has 5 malting floors that allow them to malt around 30% of their needs. The core range currently includes the 12, 15, 18, 25, 30 and 40 Years as well as the NAS expression Dark Origins. Highland Park Malt is also used for the Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark blends. Since 1999, Highland Park is part of the Edrington group.

The Whisky Talker is an Independent Bottler, based in The Netherlands. The goal behind the Mo Or (Gaelic for My Gold) Collection is to offer at least one cask from every distillery found in Scotland. All Whiskies are Single Cask, do not contain Artificial Colouring and are not Chill-Filtered. All bottles are individually numbered and hand-filled. The manager is Michel Kappen.

The Highland Park 1986 I'm reviewing today was distilled on the 27th of June, 1986. It matured for 24 years in an Ex-Bourbon Hogshead before being bottled on October 29, 2010. Three Hundred bottles went to the market.

🍷  The Spirit:

Highland Park operates two pear-shaped pairs of Stills with Lyne arms that are pointed either straight, slightly upwards or slightly downwards to produce an even well-balanced Spirit. The Water is sourced from the Crantit Spring, close to the Distillery.

🌲  The Wood:

Today's Highland Park 1986 (Mo Or) matured in an Ex-Bourbon Hogshead with cask # 2275. Without any doubt a quality cask. It gave sufficient flavours and Aromas to the Spirit without ever being overwhelming. Good cask management!

Drinking Experience Neat: Good. Excellent Nose.

So far I'm quite impressed by the Mo Or collection. The main reason is the good cask management. To me that means that the cask gives sufficient Aromas and Flavours to the Spirit without completely overpowering it, even after 24 long years. And that's exactly what cask # 2275 did to the Spirit that was distilled by Highland Park in 1986. On the Nose this works out the best. The combination of the Apple Crumb Pie and the veil of distant Peat is absolutely beautiful. As so often, Palate and Finish can't quite live up to the high expectations that the Nose creates. It becomes quite Herbal and Citrusy with a bit too much Licorice for my taste. Still, a very interesting and well-made Single Malt. I do wonder how many people would recognise it as a Highland Park in a blind tasting. And that's precisely the reason that Indie expressions can often be so thoroughly fascinating and tasty.

Jan van den Ende                                                                         July 3, 2017

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