It’s been three years since Highland Park inaugurated its Cask Power Launch — the primary full-proof launch the distillery had ever put out. We reviewed the second version a 12 months later, and now we’re lastly on to Launch No. 4.
It’s not the identical previous story, by the way in which: Cask Power No.4 is kind of a singular conflagration, “that includes a mixture of first-fill sherry seasoned European oak casks, ex-bourbon casks, first-fill sherry seasoned American oak casks, first-fill ex-Port hogsheads, and a small amount of refill casks – all hand-selected by Highland Park’s Grasp Whisky Maker Gordon Movement.”
Whew! That’s fairly the combination of barrels. And on high of that, the proof is creeping up — we’re now over 64% abv — so let’s see the place all of this takes us.
Punishingly scorching on the nostril, this whisky melds the cereal-driven charms of an island single malt with the hearth of a cask energy launch, successfully masking a few of what lies beneath. Time in glass is important for among the booziness to blow off, at which level a bolder sherry observe comes into clearer focus, extra nutty than citrus-driven, that includes late-arriving notes of oily furnishings polish.
It’s daring and sharp on the palate when tasted at full energy, but additionally chewy and honeyed, which helps to mood among the warmth. It’s spicy with gingery baking spices, heat cider, and a curious, rising observe of dill pickle issues get more and more racy as you expertise the whisky. Water is a professional transfer right here and don’t be shy with it, serving to to coax out much more of the underlying malt and extra normal sweetness, right here showcasing cookie dough and juicy orange oil notes. The extra H2O I add, the extra traditional Highland Park character emerges, with a end that vaguely nods on the Port cask affect within the whisky whereas lastly bringing out the light peat high quality that’s at all times been a part of the HP expertise.
It is a whisky that’s without delay traditional sufficient to please the Highland Park trustworthy whereas providing one thing that’s simply totally different sufficient to benefit a spot on the shelf subsequent to your different Orkney-born bottles. If you’ll find it, give it a whirl.
A- / $100