Getting to enjoy Highland Park 21 and 25 both in the same evening was a wonderful experience. No, I really cannot afford a full bottle of either one (between $150 and $200 for the 21 and $250 to $300 for the 25) but we did manage to get a mini of each to sample. My daughter bought both of these on her recent trip to Scotland and we shared the tasting last weekend. We started with the 21 and followed Highland Park’s Global Brand Ambassador, Gerry Tosh’s recommendation for observing tears and legs and nosing. We agreed that the aroma of orange peel and toffee were there for us but as smelling whisky is not our long suit we were eager to get on with the drinking. We both enjoyed it and both reported a sharp bite on the tip of the tongue that lasted a few seconds. The taste was pleasant enough and enjoyable with that trademark little wisp of peat smoke at the end of the finish. It started strong and then mellowed out from there. I guess a good comparison might be the very first drop on an old fashioned roller coaster like the Beast at King’s Island in Cincinnati Ohio, the first drop is a heart stopper then you really enjoy the rest of the ride and it is quite thrilling all the way to the end. That, to me, best describes the tasting of the Highland Park 21.
Now on to the 25 to sample its wares! Apparently there are several varieties of both the 21 and 25 and our sample was just a little over 107 Proof. Other proofs were bottled and distributed and various online liquor stores carry these assorted “flavors”.
Even the little box that the 25 came in had a full color picture on it compared to the 21 which was in black and white. The color was very nice and as one might expect a bit darker than the 21 but as Gerry Tosh says, color really means nothing. The legs and tears were almost exactly like those we found in the 21. Thus ended the similarities. This nosing of the 25 was unusual for us in that we actually did pick up whiffs of chocolate (as in 90% cacao chocolate) just like when you first open up a big bar of semi-sweet chocolate and you get that blast of chocolate smell that hits you. Not as strong in the whisky of course but it really seems to be there. I say that because usually I cannot smell anything but whisky with the occasional bit of spun sugar and of course sherry aroma from those whiskies aged in sherry casks. This one was different. We both really enjoyed the taste and once again a thousand pipers played as a host of angels sang praises to the distiller’s art. I’m sure one or two dead Scottish Kings rose up and marched about a bit in harmonious celebration with us but no I did not really see them, just sensed they were there smiling ear to ear. The 25 was absolutely wonderful and makes me sad that I am not financially well off enough to buy a case of it (or a bottle for that matter). But at least I (we) got to taste it once and that was sheer pleasure. My daughter said that even though Dalwhinnie was her favorite, she believed she had finally found a new favorite scotch in the Highland Park 25. Regrettably she is no better off financially than I am so we will have to start a savings account for a future purchase of a full bottle of the Highland Park 25. We liked the 21 but loved the 25. Eventually we would like to try the Highland Park 30 and that is next on the agenda.
Whatever you drink please enjoy yourself and savor every moment this life has to give.
The Whisky Warrior.