Friday, 8 October 2021

Highland Park Hong Kong Single Cask Edition #4 [Tasted #542]

Edrington's two most well-known distilleries (The MacallanHighland Park) get a lot of airtime on this blog, and that's largely because their commanding presence in the HK market means they can bring some pretty cool whiskies here, and launch them with some pretty amazing events


One area the brands really differ though is in their single cask offerings. The Macallan has the "Exceptional Single Cask" program (which has included everything from 12yo to 67yo whiskiy), but these are pretty tough to get a hold of, and typically come with a price tag to match their rarity (to be fair, their retail prices are very reasonable - but rarely can they be found at retail prices!)

(The Macallan also have a private cask program, but it's so incredibly limited I won't cover it here.)


Highland Park's single cask program on the other hand has seen hundreds of casks released, often at very reasonable prices. Some have been specific to certain shops, whisky clubs, bars or events, others are specific to the distillery visitor centre and yet others are bottled only for certain locations. In the latter camp, we've previously seen no less than four HK-exclusive casks (the first of which we covered almost 3 years ago) and now, Hong Kong has it's fourth - this time an 18yo!


Distilled in 2001 and bottled in 2020 @ 56.6% ABV, the Highland Park "Hong Kong Edition 4" 18yo comes from a refill Hoghhead (Sherry no doubt) and is limited to 296 bottles. It also comes in a pretty nice and very heavy wooden box.


To celebrate the new single cask, and the launch of the latest edition 50yo (which I later tasted thanks to Dram Good Stuff, but that's for another post...) a lunchtime tasting and pairing was held at St Regis Hong Kong with HK whisky stalwart Ron Taylor. The canapés were delicious and the whiskies expertly paired, but there was one whisky I was there to taste, and really spend some time with, and that was the new single cask...



Highland Park Single Cask Series "Hong Kong Edition 4" (56.6% ABV, 2001-2020, 18yo, Refill Hogshead #2585, 1 of 296 bottles, Orkney Scotland)
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Colour: Amber copper.

Nose: Slight sulphur notes at first, then followed by citrus (calamansi?), vanilla and sour mix. The sulphur dissipates but some mild tannins remain, alongside some sweet orange notes.

Palate: Zesty orange, vanilla and coffee grounds. It has a sweetness, but at the same time there's a robust earthy note. Slight hints of grassy peat, then raw honey, hazelnut and orange chocolate. A few drops of water adds a little more earthy spice, with a hint of vanilla.

Finish: A long, floral honey nuttiness.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91. A very enjoyable cask.



The Highland Park "Hong Kong Edition 4" 18yo sells for $4,650HKD at Dram Good Stuff (but given its limited outturn, I suspect it won't be around for long).

A big thanks to Edrington Hong Kong, Ron and Lee Wolter for the invitation to the event.

Cheers,
Martin.

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