Highland Park is known in using Sherry casks throughout their core expressions for the entire aging process, not just a finish. Whereas the 12 and 18 year whiskies use mainly Spanish oak, the 15 uses American oak (though not American Sherry, thankfully). Not content with one cask alteration, the 15 is aged in 30% first fill Sherry casks and 70% refill. While not in the same class of exclusivity as Highland Park’s Valhalla Collection, it is a little more elusive than the celebrated 12 year expression.
Distillery: Highland Park
Age: 15 years
Maturation: American Sherry casks
Nose: Green apple, almond, honey, floral, spearmint
Palate: Honey, floral, grass, smoke
Finish: Honey, smoke, spearmint
Comments: Water changes character.
Adam – I love the layers of flavor captures in this whisky. The oil means the flavor doesn’t dissipate quickly. It has that character where I can’t pin my feelings on it immediately, which means I need to revisit this again and again to peel back the layers, all delightful. A great dance partner, one who knows more than how to waltz. With a little water, she’ll salsa too. While the water isn’t needed, I’d encourage it because it really wakes the whisky up.
Jenny – I taste baked goods in it. Sugar cookie, cinnamon, kinda yummy. Like holiday cookies.
Meghan – I prefer it with just a drop of water. It’s bright and zesty. It reminds me of a Sauternes cask finish whisky.
Michael – What I really like about it is that it has a very complex flavor. I like the texture of the whisky, how it coats my tongue. It sits there and the flavor lingers for a while, it doesn’t vanish. There’s the warm spice honey flavor I really like. Some Scotches disappear quickly but this doesn’t.
John – For me, it changes the context of what I’m drinking. Without the water, it’s not overwhelming. With the water, because of the warmth in the finish, it seems a cold weather dram. There is much more of a finish with the water. Usually you think water would take it away, intuitively, but it doesn’t.
Peter – What I love about this is how complex the tastes are. It really does different colors throughout the taste.
Mary-Fred – There’s a very comfortable weightiness to it. It is a very complex whisky, which gives it its weight and heft.