In the recent batch of Artful Dodger releases, we find these two interesting proposals: Highland Park 1992 and Speyside Blended Malt 1989. According to the Artful Dodger newsletter, the latter is Burnside, or teaspooned Balvenie. Opposite characters perhaps, but that often also works as a head-to-head.
Highland Park 28 yo 1992 (46,6%, Artful Dodger 2023, sherry hogshead #1271, 297 btl.)
Nose: fairly fruity, with nice hints of red berries, apples and kiwi. Some marzipan and fruit cake aromas. Then we’re getting moist oak after the rain, some mineral notes and whiffs of varnish and citronella wax in the background. Faint tobacco leaves. Very clean, nicely rounded and elegant.
Mouth: very oily. Sunflower oil, herbal ointments, mixd with grapefruits and chalk. Then hints of bitter marmalade, with a salty edge and black peppercorns. Light tangerines and rounder notes of herbal honey. Limestone. Very subtle smoke in the distance.
Finish: long, mineral and mildly spiced, with a medicinal note and wax. Drying tobacco in the very end.
Really good Highland Park, balancing roundness and austerity. Overall simply beautiful. It is quite expensive, but also rather flawless. Still available from Artful Dodger or retailers like TyndrumWhisky or The Whisky Exchange.
Speyside Blended Malt 30 yo 1989 (51,2%, Artful Dodger 2023, bourbon barrel #4555, 317 btl.)
Nose: rather floral oak up front, with juicy orchard fruits behind it. Kiwi, pear, mirabelles and gooseberries. Whiffs of polished furniture. Then hints of vanilla custard and almonds, although it stays quite light and bright.
Mouth: slightly sweeter now, on yellow plums and honey, with a firm minty side. Rich vanilla. Then it shows a plain oaky side, nice and bourbonny but a little loud nonetheless. This translates to gingery notes, liquorice and a certain greenness. Walnuts and hints of latte in the end.
Finish: quite long, peppery and minty, with drying wood and vanilla pastry with burnt edges.