Tasting note: Highland Park 17-year-old, "The Dark"

Highland Park "The Dark" 17-year-oldColor: Russetmuscat

Nose: Soft peat, salt and sweet dried fruits alongside a strong ginger spiciness and wooden notes. Hints of citrus. Water tames the spiciness by bringing out notes of vanilla and cherry.

Taste: Creamy mouth feel with salty liquorice, malt and lots of dried fruits. Nice. I like it better with a few drops of water though as it gets even creamier and slightly less salty.

Finish: Long. Sweet, then quite peppery. Later, dry oak and bitterness.

Comments: Very fine whisky by Highland Park. Calling it a "limited bottling" when there are 28,000 bottles is bad marketing and the price is too high, in my opinion, but that shouldn't dilute the fact that "The Dark" is a yummy dram. Liked it quite a bit.

Rating: I rated this whisky 89 out of 100.
(Nose 23, Taste 23, Finish 22, Balance 21)

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Tasting note: Highland Park 2002 SMWS 4.235 (14-year-old, "Beach bonfire embers")

Highland Park 2002 SMWS 4.235 Beach bonfire embersColor: White wine

Nose: Lemon slices with a very light touch of smoke. Above that lingers a floral note with vanilla and a salty breeze you might associate with an autumn walk on the beach.

Taste: Salty liquorice with soft smoke. Thin mouth feel. Water improves the balance by introducing green tea, but the peat remains subdued.

Finish: Getting dry quickly. You get more peat now, but it's still only "lightly peated" as suggested by the categorization over at SMWS.

Comments: Solid whisky that does nothing wrong but doesn't really stand out either. Don't overthink it, enjoy it at the beach.

Rating: I rated this whisky 82 out of 100.
(Nose 21, Taste 21, Finish 20, Balance 20)

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