Distilled in 1998, bottled in 2010, this special edition of Highland Park 12 Years Old is only available in duty free shops, where I picked one up in the airport during my recent trip to Frankfurt, Germany.
Tragically I don’t have any of the standard HP12 here to compare it against, but I did sample it alongside my old standby Highland Park 18 Years Old just to see the family bond.
Highland Park 1998, distilled for the distillery’s 200th anniversary, offers the classic mix of sweet and smoke that Highland Park is known for. Nougat and honey are strong in the forefront, along with orange marmalade character. More smokiness — sweet peat and charcoal fire — than you would think comes on in the finish, lasting and lightly warming.
The 1998 lacks the strong sherry character of HP18, and doesn’t quite nail that amazingly full and silky body, either. Still, the 1998 is quite a lovely dram with plenty of fireside character to recommend it.
A- / 45 euros per 1 liter bottle / highlandpark.co.uk