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  • Writer's pictureHarold

Highland Park SCS

I’ve always been a bit skeptical about Highland Park’s "Single Cask Series," ever since they started the famous potato sack bottlings back in 2017. Two things usually hold true, with regards to the cask selection and with whatever market/retailer/whisky club/influencer they decide to work with. They’re usually a sherry cask (1st fill/2nd fill/European oak/American, etc.), and they’re always bottled at a borderline flammable level proofing. Granted, I’ve not tried all of them, of course, but the few I have tried, plus the countless reviews from many of the other casks have seemingly held true to this. The pricing has come down, somewhat (from 2017-2019)…but compared to what’s constantly available from them in the independently bottled market, the quality of their own single cask selections usually leaves a little more to be desired.

Two, almost identical casks from this series came to the American market, a few years ago from the North and South side of the country. Plenty of other ones were released throughout the country as well, but these two came from a couple of the bigger retailers who, I’m guessing, had a much larger selection to pick from than the rest of the country.

 
Highland Park - 2006/12 Year  |Single Cask Series| 1st Fill European Oak Sherry Hogshead #5046 - 63.5% (Binny’s Pick)
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase

Highland Park - 2006/12 Year

|Single Cask Series| 1st Fill European Oak Sherry Hogshead 5046 - 63.5%

*Binny’s Pick*


Appearance: Deep Tawny, Mahogany

First Whiff: Hot…sticky…Swedish Fish.

Nose: Mighty sharp…piercing in fact. Even after a couple hours in the glass. Once that passes it settles into some typical Chocolate and spice…Hershey’s cocoa dusted apricots. Tootsie rolls. Chocolate covered raisins, prunes, and warm maraschino cherries. With water: Still fighting the ethanol. Seems like a losing battle.

Palate: Intense, creamy spices, and bonfire ash. Some camp-y woodfire smoke. Not much fruit so far, mostly caramel. chocolates and charred oak. With water: Burnt embers, crème caramel. Still spicy.

Finish: Tart, prickly and long…not fun. Harsh cinnamon spice and acidic Kool aid.


Summary: I’ll admit, this wood-heavy, high abv style is less of my jam, these days…but then again, I have been drinking less bourbon lately. I’m hearing “hazmat” stuff is all the rage now. This, sort of one sided, straightforward…poorly integrated sherry just doesn’t appeal to me and lacks any of the wonderful floral-y peat you can easily find in their core bottlings...which is probably why this didn't end up in one. But hey, at least there was no sulphur!

IDS SCORE: 84

 
Highland Park - 2006/12 Year  |Single Cask Series| 1st Fill European Oak Sherry Hogshead #5046 - 63.5% (Binny’s Pick)
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase

Highland Park - 2006/12 Year

|Single Cask Series| 1st Fill European Oak Sherry Hogshead 5965 - 63.4%

*SPEC'S Pick*


Appearance: Auburn, Tawny, Mahogany (I know…I should probably get a little more creative than just checking a whisky color chart…I’ll get there!)

First Whiff: Chocolate liqueur candy, like the one’s I had as a child…which, probably explains a lot.

Nose: Slightly more floral here…orange blossoms, bergamot. Milk chocolate, orange liqueur. Cocoa dusted cherry wood. With water: Warm caramel and candied citrus…Sour patch kids.

Palate: Creamy ginger spice, with a metallic, coppery, warm coating. Tart cranberry juice, raspberry…actually, more CranRaspberry…Ocean Spray’s finest, of course. With water: Melted milk chocolate and salted glazed ham.

Finish: Long and stinging. Similar to the Binny’s…has that sharp, prickly bite that ends a little too tart/metallic for me.


Summary: Perhaps it needed a bit more water, but I’m just tired of this story. This is a bourbon drinker’s scotch, and the fact that it comes in a potato sack is quite ironic and certainly befitting for their geared market.

IDS SCORE: 85

 

Highland Park SCS

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