Single malt whisky - tasting notes

15 Dec 2011

Highland Park Earl Haakon

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in Highland Park

Earl Haakon is the third and last release in the Magnus series. While I didn’t like the previous 1998 Saint Magnus, this one is older and was well received. Haakon was the cousin of the influential 11th century viking Magnus.

A blind sample was sent to me by Marc (thanks) and my first impression wasn’t very good. I gave it a second try though.


Highland Park Earl HaakonHighland Park 18 yo ‘Earl Haakon’
(54,9%, OB 2011, 3300 btl.)

Nose: sweet with a lot of red fruit aromas: redcurrant jam, damson, pomegranate maybe. Slightly candied. So far so good. Quite some spicy notes (ginger, cinnamon). In the background: bonfire on a beach. Mouth: very peppery and gingery attack. Starts fairly dry but after a while it develops a nice sweetness (dark sugar, raisins). Unfortunately there’s also a sharpness and sourness of winey notes (plum wine). Hints of Seville oranges and chocolate, with a faint coastal hint and traces of peat towards the end. Finish: spicy, oaky, quite long and rather dry.

My notes are still the same, but my initial score (“around 80”) is now a little more on the positive side. It’s probably the best of the Magnus releases, but given the price and hype, I’m still not convinced. Around € 185.

Score: 84/100

Highland Park Earl Haakon 3 Ruben Luyten 2011-12-15
  • Johannes

    You are totally spot on as always. 90 % of the hype is the great looking bottles. To bad.

  • Tom

    Just cask strength versions of the normal range.

    ‘The same old thing in brand new drag’ :-)

  • WhiteMonkey

    “While I didn’t like the previous 1998 Saint Magnus.”

    Terwijl je die niet lekker vond, en toen?

  • Ruben

    Sorry, apparently part of that sentence got lost.



November 2015
« Oct    

Coming up

  • Lindores 2015 festival bottling
  • Amrut 2009 (cask #2701)
  • Glenlivet 1981 (#9468 for TWE)
  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Laphroaig 32 Year Old
  • Glen Grant 65yo 1950 cask #2747 for Wealth Solutions
  • Mortlach 1959/1960 (G&M Royal Wedding)

1930 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.