Though their NAS special releases are little too hit-or-miss for me to want to actually spend money on, I’m always down to try a Highland Park, a solid Island distillery with quite a unique profile that can work with all sorts of things, though more often than not, comes sherried.
This one was not sherried, it was matured in a refill ex-bourbon hogshead, so should be very malt-centric. But it’s also not NAS, it has spent a respectable 19 years in its cask, and it comes from the very respectable Scotch Malt Whisky Society, so it will be hard to go wrong here.
This one is called Nordic Nosh, which according to it’s little story (below) is due to all the Scandinavian flavours that the SMWS guys found in this one, but I’d like to also think it’s poking a little fun at how much Highland Park relies on their Norse style branding for their marketing.
We felt like filling our plate from the buffet at a garden party. Whilst some got smoked mackerel salad with beetroot, sweet potato and horseradish seasoned with red wine vinaigrette, others enjoyed sweet cured marinated herring and new potato salad with sour cream. The main course was sweet and slightly ashy, barbequed succulent herbal sausages, Swedish meatballs, dry-cured smoked ham and summertime sweet pickles. With water, the vegetarian option, grilled glazed kebab skewers with courgette, aubergine, cherry tomatoes and pepper in a honey mustard oil dressing and in the finish, slightly burnt with a hint of ash, marshmallows.
Aged 19 years. 53.9%ABV. Matured in a refill ex-bourbon hogshead. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from a single cask.
Nose: Engine oil. Caramel. Butter. Tropical fruits. Kippers. Wood smoke off of damp wood chips. Walnuts. Lotus biscuits. Bit of a honey & porridge note. After some glass time a bit of a medicinal note turns up, but quite faint.
Palate: Very very salty. Some mineral peat, some grassy peat. Gooseberries. Bitter citrus. Marzipan. Slight herbal note. Anise. Honey liqueur. Some more malt notes.
Finish: Long. Floral. Salty. Smoky. Malty. Sawdust. Honey. Bitter citrus. Some tropical fruit.
Would I buy this: Yes
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes
This dram felt a little all over the place with all sorts of smoky, malty, woody and fruity notes, but it wasn’t all over the place in a bad way. It was all over the place like a swiss-army knife, with all the various bits neatly bundled up into a sleek and easy to manage package.