Dear friends and followers, today, to my big surprise, I received a mystery package from a mystery sender! I was indescribably happy when I discovered that the package contained the two coming releases of Single Cask Highland Park, for Sweden only! It also contained a nice little info-card. When I recently had the great honor and pleasure to visit Highland Park distillery (read all about it here) I was told about these two single casks and that they would soon be released, so as you all can understand it is a great satisfaction to finally be able to try them, and to try them before they are being released!
[Edit2: It has now come to my attention that the launch of cask 2121 has been set to the 8th of december. The delay was due to an unfortunate miss-labelling of the ABV; it was marked 60,5% ABV but should in fact have been 59,7%. The bottles have now been sent back for re-labelling and the product can be viewed at the webpage of the state monopoly from the 1st of december]
[Edit1: Dear friends and followers, today, on the 17th of October, an employee at Edrington Sweden contacted me to let me know, and help spread that the launch of cask 2121 sadly has been delayed. The new date for it's release has not yet been set but it will be available sometime later this year, probably in december. Feel free to check in every now and then to stay updated on the new release date as I will edit this post instantly when I know more. Please note that the state monopoly has not yet changed the info on the release date of cask 2121 so it is still possible to view it, but we can expect them to withdraw the product from their webpage and/or change the date within a number of days. However, cask 6403 will be released this Thursday as was originally set from the beginning, and you can view it by clicking here]
The first bottling/cask for Sweden has an ABV of 58,6% and is from cask no. 6403, a first fill sherry European Hogshead that resulted in 300 bottles. The whisky from this cask is 13 years old
The second bottling/cask for Sweden has an ABV of 59,7% and is from cask no. 2121, a first fill sherry American Butt that resulted in 600 bottles. The whisky from this cask is 14 years old
As you all can imagine, given that they are both first fill sherry (and oloroso I assume), it will be very interesting indeed to be able to compare the differences between european oak and american oak. Anyways, both of them will be released at the state monopoly on the 20th of october and we can expect them to be sold out within seconds!
Ok, let's begin with cask 6403 since that has the lowest ABV of the two!
|Cask 6403 front|
13yo/cask 6403 Nose:
Very, very, very dark notes going on here… now this is what I would call a heavily sherrymatured whisky! Completely boasting of and/or drowning in dried figs! Oh, also leather! There is also full-fat unwhipped cream, white chocolate (yes white), but there’s also dark raisins that have been dipped in medium dark milk chocolate… very slight or distant touches of something like mint… in the very top register is something very sweet and citric, not really lemonjuice but rather dried slices of lemon and lemon peel that is intermingling perfectly with the sligt touches of alchol. By the way, the strength of this baby is hardly noticeable on the nose. And what about the peat? Well it’s just there somewhere in the background, hardly noticeable, maybe in the form of licorice…
|Cask 2121 front (before re-labelling)|
14yo/cask 2121 Nose:
Oooh! 2121 is completely different from the previous! It’s also a sherrybomb but not at all in the same way. In this one I’d actually say that we have some very damp notes, something like an underground cellar, reminding me very much of the scents in a warehouse with all the maturing casks… I’m taken straight back to HP-warehouse no.3! Besides those wharehouse-y notes it’s extremely hard to not pick up the huge amounts of vanilla, the honey-infused new make, and most of all, the enormous amounts of heather! Maybe even heather-honey! Yes, heather-honey mixing beautifully with jelly-sweets of peach flavor. The alcohol? Not even noticeable. The peat? Even more distant than in the previous one…
|Cask 6403 back|
13yo/cask 6403 Taste:
Oh my God (or Thor)! (yelling it straight out sitting here all by myself). Begins quite brown-sugary sweet actually, but then huge wawes of something like ”peated sherry” takes over very quickly! After that everything gets very dry indeed, very quickly. I feel vanilla fudge-cubes, a very interesting mix of mint and evident peat (never felt that mix before…), as well as a mix of leather and cold coffee… Wow, the dryness surely jumps up on you. People, this dram should righteously be described as very, very complex!
|Cask 2121 back (before re-labelling)|
14yo/cask 2121 Taste:
Once again, completely different than the previous one! The differences between the european oak in the previous one and the american oak in this one is to say the least, striking! This one also begins sweet but not at all in the sugar-y way, rather in the vanilla way, and that’s vanilla with a big V. Also the vanilla is kind of burnt, and kind of moves towards coffe with very much milk in it, or actually something like coffee liqueur. Other than that we also have so much fruit in this one, such as pear, dried peach and white raisins. This one is also very dry but here the dryness does not hit you that early, it is rather dry predominantly in the aftertaste, moving towards a mix of heather honey, quite bitter liquorice and most of all dry peat mingling with something like earl grey tea.
To sum up:
People, these two whiskies both show off the very high quality of whisky being produced at Highland Park distillery, and the high quality you can attain by picking out single casks. For me, I would of course not say no to owning any of these two bottlings, but my favourite is definietely the 13yo/cask 6403! I hope that I don’t have to choose but that I am lucky enough to get a hold of both bottles, then I could sit for hours and ponder over the fascinating differences between european oak and american oak ☺
Big thanks to the mystery sender, and also, big thanks to my great friend and colleague Stefan for sending me the nice pictures of the two bottles! Please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here, and my twitter-page by clicking here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes and text by SamuelWhisky and pictures likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro[at]gmail.com