Single malt whisky - tasting notes

15 Dec 2011

Highland Park Earl Haakon

Posted by: Ruben Luyten 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.

  • http://www.levenswater.nl 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?

  • http://www.whiskynotes.be Ruben

    Sorry, apparently part of that sentence got lost.

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  • Roberto Sikora: This is really a great, great bottling. One of my favourite Littlemills so far... :-) Thank you, Ruben for this review!
  • george: i see you have tried st magdalene and say it is harder to find i am a collector of st magdalene and i have 40 bottles i am selling these date from 196
  • sjoerd972: I wish the guys at Bushmills would demand the labels to say "Northern Ireland" so we didn't have to speculate on the booze's origins.

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1601 notes by Ruben

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