This Highland Park 21 years old won the 2009 World Whiskies Awards in the category ‘best single malt whisky’.
In terms of flavour profile, this recent addition to the Highland Park range is quite closely related to the Highland Park 30 years old, sharing a slight emphasis on American oak in maturation (less sherry influence to release more of the smokiness). That’s why I’ve tasted them head-to-head, apart from the HP 18 yo and HP 25 yo.
The 21 years old is only available at travel retail. Unfortunately it has been difficult to find outside of the UK.
Highland Park 21 yo (47,5%, OB 2007)
Nose: a bit quiet at first, but it became more expressive after a while. Lots of heather, more than in the 30y. Again quite fruity and sweet, but it has more body and seems to be more complex. More pear and more oak influence, apple pie, floral notes and even some cherry. A bit ‘darker’ or ‘dustier’ as well, with some well-defined notes of bonfire and roasted nuts. Toffee, chocolate and caramel. Some herbs. Lovely nose altogether.
Mouth: vivid, spicy attack (ginger, nutmeg). Heather and honey again. Oily. Peat smoke in the distance. Creamy milk chocolate. Very rich. Warmer and less citrussy / gingery than the 30yo.
Finish: long continuation of the taste. Starting with a sweet smokiness and getting drier in the end.
It’s a cracking dram, certainly worth looking for. Around € 80.