Though a mere decade has lapsed between Highland Park’s 30 year old and 40 year old expressions, the price point has soared by more than 400%. Now…anyone familiar with aged drams knows that it is not necessarily a directly proportional ratio between age and price. More importantly, it is also not a directly proportional ration between age and quality.
While I won’t speak too much to the first point (as I believe both are expressions are actually quite fairly priced), I do want to address the second.
Odds are a distillery of renown and repute is not going to deliver a sub-par expression when it reaches the point of multiple decades in the cask. It simply compromises reputation to a degree that far outweighs any possible profit.
This Highland Park is no exception. Though by no means a ‘young 40’, this one is still able to toss a ball with the kids, but just ain’t likely to be knockin’ ‘em into the upper deck anymore. In simplest terms…this could have been pulled from the cask a little earlier, I think, but only by a hair. Unfortunately (or some might say fortunately) I have only ever tasted this alongside the more vibrant and robust 30 year old expression, where it simply falls short.
The hallmarks of maturity are all present and accounted for. The nose is deep and changing. Full of burnt rubber and spent candle. Dry wood smoke. Woody and waxy notes. Sharp clove and burnt sugar meet sweet plum and echoes of a very old rum.
Those wax and oak notes tag along to the palate as well. Delivery is somewhat salty and characterized by tannic fruit skin tartness and dried fruit flavors. Tendrils of smoke swirl around the mouth.
Maybe my expectations were just a little too high here. Great drink though. I simply expected a little more.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt