The Blasda of the Orkeys. Had to be said.
Malts like this to, to me, are kinda like CCR touring without Fogerty. Or the Doors continuing after Jim Morrison died. You may still be trading off a well-established brand, but ultimately you’re not really giving fans what they want.
Highland Park without sherry is neat, but it’s not Highland Park. Just as Blasda was a cool as hell Ardbeg (and, contrary to what you may have heard, very good), but let’s face it…it was just barely an Ardbeg. Full volume is a bourbon cask-driven version of our Orkney darling, rich in soft vanilla, clean spice and firm oak, but lacking in the oomphy, gooey dried fruits that work to enhance that smoke and slightly peaty tang. It is decent enough malt to be sure (and the price point is just over half of what the regular 18 is), but I probably wouldn’t reach for this one very often.
And dear lord, that packaging. Bad. So bad.
I’ll stick with my HPs with some age and sass to them.
Nose: Vanilla and very clean smoke. Homemade fruit salad. Pepper and ginger. Orange and mixed berry scones. A touch of artificial cherry. More orange. Peppered custard.
Palate: Smoke. New tooth picks. Opening a fresh ream of paper. Faint white pepper. Overbaked pie crust. A lot of fruit, but there’s a slightly too strong oak thread running interference. Good mouthfeel. Good arrival. Then…it’s kinda downhill.
Thoughts: Not bad, but rather pointless.
– Image & words: Curt