The Whisky Exchange is taking up its yearly tradition of releasing a Christmas bottling again (see the 2020 edition). A Fine Christmas Malt 2021 is a limited edition vatting of five casks of Highland Park single malt, three hogsheads and two sherry butts. It is 16 years old, bottled at 53.2% ABV and it’s available now.
In little more than a week they will also announce that other highly anticipated tradition, the Black Friday 2021 bottling.
A Fine Christmas Malt 16 yo (53,2%, The Whisky Exchange, hogsheads + sherry butts, 2200 btl.)
Nose: an elegant mix of fine, yet sooty smoke and tobacco notes with leather, roasted apple and orange peels. A surprisingly bright fruity side as well, showing citrus sherbet with pineapple and fruit cake. Heather and eucaluptys. Light cocoa and almonds too. A lightly sherried Highland Park profile with a fruity base. Very good.
Mouth: shifting towards more peat now, with more depth and less fruits. Leathery notes, flints and hints of charred oak, with some dark chocolate and toasted hazelnuts behind it. Rather more earthy and umami, although there are raisins and more of that fruit cake to keep the balance. Sooty smoke and mineral notes in the background, with cinnamon and brown sugar.
Finish: long, with sweet mint syrup, charcoal, chocolate and baking spice. Puffs of smoke in the very end.
A complex composition of Highland Park that really captures the Christmasy element. Smokiness, sherry, sweetness and spice in a well-dosed ensemble. Exclusively available from The Whisky Exchange for a very fair price. A nice gift (to yourself?), you can also get it with a personal engraving if you like.