Highland Park Aged Its New Cask Strength Whisky in Bourbon and Port Barrels
Highland Park, the northernmost distillery in Scotland, just launched a new edition of its cask-strength single malt. Whisky fans take note, because this fourth iteration clocks in at a very high proof and a combination of barrel types were used to aged the whisky that was a first for this Viking-themed distillery.
Highland Park will celebrate its 225th anniversary in September, a pretty important milestone for this beloved single malt whisky distillery. The new Cask Strength No. 4 packs a big punch at 64.3 percent ABV, so adding few drops of water would definitely be a good option to consider here (but no more than 20 percent, according to researchers). “For me, a cask strength whisky really celebrates an individual’s whisky journey, best enjoyed with your own personal level of water and ice added,” said master whisky maker Gordon Motion in a statement. “The peat from our home in Orkney gives the whisky a completely different character with aromatic heather smoke and unexpected contrasts in sweet and smoky flavors.”
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The combination of barrels used for the maturation process also sets this apart from other Highland Park expressions, with the inclusion of ex-bourbon and port casks in the mix. The breakdown for this NAS whisky, according to the distillery is majority first-fill sherry-seasoned European oak barrels, but also first-fill ex-bourbon casks, first-fill sherry-seasoned American oak casks, first-fill ex-port hogsheads, and a small percentage of refill casks. There is no color added, as is the case with all Highland Park whisky, and official tasting notes describe pink grapefruit, rose water, toasted oak, and peat on the palate, followed by licorice and more peat on the finish.
To celebrate the 225th anniversary, Highland Park collaborated with woodworker Jamie Gaunt to design a sculpture made from barrel staves that were used to age the whisky which will be on display in Orkney this summer. “The crafts of whisky production and woodworking draw many parallels,” said Gaunt. “Just as I transform a piece of wood, wood has the same impact on whisky. Cask Strength No.4 is no different; each of the casks used in the whisky contribute to the complex flavors and aromas.”
Highland Park Cask Strength No. 4 is available starting this month with an SRP of $100. Check online retailers like ReserveBar to find a bottle now, and the previous three releases are still available if you’d like to do a side-by-side comparison tasting.
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