Highland Park 16yo (1990/2007) The Single Malts of Scotland

Austere Orcadian

The egomaniac in me is naturally drawn towards bottles from my birth year. And why not? Except for an utterly dreadful G&M Glentauchers, 1990 was a great vintage year in my books.
Admittedly, these were no longer the “Golden Days” the drinkers amongst us with deeper pockets can brag about. But it makes sense when you think about it: The whisky crisis of the 80's had lowered the overall demand so the still masters were able to take their time and the surviving distilleries had a better pick in casks.

Today’s dram is from the Highland Park distillery. These Orcadians were at the top of their game at the time: lauded by various influential critics and fairly priced… Let’s see what they decided to cook up.

Matured in casks #1805/2508 and bottled at 52.3% by The Single Malts of Scotland (and the price for least original name goes to…).

Nose: Oh you’re not fooling anyone, you’re no whisky, but a Mosel Riesling!
More on the grassy part of the spectrum, a fruity note of pear, some dry hay and a squash of dishwashing detergent with a lemony edge.

Mouth: Medium bodied with a alcohol fuelled attack on the palate, a very dry austere style with straight forward notes of pears and cloves.

Finish: Warm and short in delivery notes of vanilla and oak, with a lingering peppery prickling.


The Verdict: What to do, what to say… this atypical Highland Park has a certain appeal. It’s well-crafted to say the least, but the austere style never matched my taste. So once again we face the conundrum, do we judge the dram by its merits or by personal taste? I decided to use the latter as value scale, so don’t be surprised if you find someone else classifying it as a top-notch whisky.
Score: 83

Nose: 21

Taste: 21
Finish: 19 Balance: 22
   < 75: undrinkable, avoid at all costs
75-79: acceptable, give it a try but don't spend to much money on it
80-84: average, enjoyable whiskies mostly easy sippable entry-level single malt 
85-89: above average drams, often well aged expressions, open your wallet
90-94: excellence, sorry kids no x-mas presents this year, daddy needs this bottle
95-99: divinity, call your bank manager for another mortgage on your house