Single malt whisky - tasting notes

14 Dec 2011

Highland Park Leif Eriksson

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in Highland Park

Leif Eriksson is a new member in the ever expanding travel retail selection from Highland Park (most of these are also available in regular stores though). It’s a very unusual variation as the spirit matured only in bourbon barrels and American oak sherry casks. All of the standard HP releases use European oak sherry casks.


Highland Park Leif ErikssonHighland Park ‘Leif Eriksson’
(40%, OB 2011, travel retail)

Nose: starts on porridge and dried flowers. Also a little unfresh melon, although this changes into more pleasant fruits like figs and pears. Quite some spices (vanilla, spicy oak). Subtle hints of smoke and sea air. Pine wood. Mouth: soft and a little undefined. There’s sweet apple, citrus, plenty of malty notes / cereals and plain sugar. Again a faint smokiness and oakiness. Some vanilla and nutmeg. A bit too naked in my opinion. Finish: sweet, underpowered and too malty.

I’m not really impressed by this Leif Eriksson release. The common Highland Park assets are not present, and the result is lacking some punch and character. I’ll have any member of the standard range over this one. Around € 70.

Score: 79/100

Highland Park Leif Eriksson 2 Ruben Luyten 2011-12-14
  • Gal Granov

    sounds like a way to get people to buy it because of the “travel retail” thing.
    HP with no sherry (european) is hardly HP.
    what about pricing?

  • Ruben

    It’s in the review. More expensive than Highland Park 18 years.

  • Gal Granov

    oh. failed to see it. HP 18 is a 90 dram. and costs less? it’s a no brainer

  • Thomas

    Fully agree with you, Ruben.
    Just nothing special about this one, and too weak in alcohol, to say the least.
    It seems that giving the bottles nice names is HP’s strategy to sell young whiskys at a relatively high price.
    This being done without justification in terms of quality, when compared to the reasonably-priced standard bottlings.

  • Uncle Biff

    Sadly I have to agree with the review; I bought the Leif E edition in a moment of weakness, waiting to board a cruise. I could not recall the rating or review in my M J Companion, however I am a Fan of the HP 12 and the 18, and thought I was pretty well protected by the HP branding.

    Sadly I found this Leif E edition flat, lacking in the depth and not even close to the HP 12yr. I felt it was more an average American bourbon, than a Scottish single malt, and that was before I had done any reading or research. Not that I mind American whiskey’s now and again; however at the price, I was truly expecting a more weighty palate and stronger smoother finish.

    A 79 is lavish for this spirit, but I am only an armchair sipper!

  • Peter


    Sorry! You are all wrong :-)
    I is a greate whiskey!
    Score: Over 90


  • Mark


    Just had a tasting with the local whisky club and not one person out of 31 voted this as their dram of the night. Most agreed it was a didappointment, thin taste and no finish. Scotland

  • Uncle Biff

    Now Mark has a Tasting club I could belong too, obviously they all had the sense to see through all the hype, and recognize a sad product when they tasted it.

    I just restock a dead 12yr solider with another HP 12, fortunately that just pushes the Leif Eriksson further back on the shelf. No worries, next week at the work BBQ I’ll bring it out after everyone has had a few, hopefully kill this bottle so I don’t have to bring it back home. An expensive lesson that reading the reviews before you buy a little known product can save you disappointment.

    As a side note, I wrote to HP, to express my displeasure with the L E. Even after telling them their products were still in my home bar, and would always hold a place there. They didn’t even have the courtesy to respond! Maybe it’s a Scottish thing..! :-) I think Peter must work for the company, scoring a 90 … REALLY a 90? I have a few bottles of JD Select, I think someone told me they are 100’s… I could sell them to you but I will have to charge you double the store cost!! Also have some Ocean front property in Kansas…

  • fastpoose

    My lovely Mum asked me what I wanted from DFree, I have been enjoying the 1998 travel retail HP 12 year old, and also the HP 18 year (some nights I like the 12 better…!). So I asked for ‘anything HP’. Mum arrived with this lil baby, I scoured the labelling for an age statement… to my dismay none! Only gimmicky marketing stuff. Well I’m sipping and reading reviews at present, quite a haunting ethereal nose, the palate is far less complex and lacking the punch of the 12 year old, length far shorter than both 12/18, a little disappointing, I don’t know how much Mum paid in NZ dollars, but it was probably too much, although a free dram tastes good any day!

  • fastpoose

    Been nosing and sipping this dram for a while longer now, this beauty takes a while to open up. I think some people are going a bit far with their anger about this drop. The stunning HP heather honey is there, complexity rises to new heights over half an hour or more. I really really like this, I would give it around 85 pts, good drop, needs to be 43% or more in alcohol, but still very good, if not overpriced.

  • Sword 6

    Good Stuff.



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.