Dear Whiskydiary

Before I’m posting my tasting notes of the two Ardbeg Grooves, I’m posting just a few days after the summer solstice my tasting notes as well as some general information about two Whiskys I tasted recently. You might remember, that I was at the Finest Spirits Festival in Munich earlier this year. You might also remember my interview with the most famous Senior Brand Ambassador of all, Martin Markvardsen of Highland Park. Also, I attended (of course) his masterclass. He then told us, that in spring there will the counterpart to The Dark, which was in the lineup of the said tasting. So I waited patiently for the release of The Light!

Just that you know I’ll (re)post my tasting notes on The Dark followed by the not previously posted tasting notes from The Light. But first, here is some information about the two Whiskys. The following information (but not the tasting notes!) is, as well as all pictures in this post, from Highland Park / Edrington and used with permission!

The Story

Dark and Light are concepts that exist in opposition, yet together create a perfect balance.

In THE DARK & THE LIGHT, we share the stories of our contrasting seasons on Orkney and the intense balance of our single malt.

In THE DARK, we celebrate autumn and winter on Orkney – a time to escape from the wild weather outside and gather together with friends and family, sharing evenings of stories and hospitality around the fire.

In THE LIGHT, we celebrate spring and summer on Orkney – a time to meet up with friends and family for days of adventuring and exploring; a time for new places and new faces; for barbecues and fire pits on the beach.

The Dark

HP_17_The_Dark_700ml_Pack_Trio_PNG-smallThis 17yo old Whisky was matured exclusively in 1st fill European sherry seasoned oak hogshead casks. 126 casks were chosen and blended by Gordon Motion (the Master Whisky Maker of HP) and then bottled into 28.000 bottles at 52,9% abv. The release date was in November 2017 (at an RSP of 190 pounds).

As you can see, this black bottle comes with a black oak frame, the two circles represent the summer and winter solstice. The name is also written in runic at the bottom of the frame and the neck of the bottle.
Distillery: Highland Park
Age: 17yo
Cask: ex-Sherry hogshead
Alcohol: 52,9%
Colour: amber
Info: n.c.a., n.c.f., cask strength

Nose: Yupp, there’s the typically HP peat. Also dried fruits, some leather and toffee. There are some sherry and spicy flavours too.

Palate: Intense, very spicy and sherry heavy. Also some chocolate and sweetness from honey.

Finish: Warming, not short but also not very long.

Overall: Well, it is definitely a nice dram. I’m glad I was able to taste this Whisky! But that said, unfortunately, I’m not willing to pay this price for that Whisky. But that’s just fine with me! As Martin said in his interview with me, not every Whisky is for everyone!

My rating: 20/20/20/19 = 79 out of 100.

The Light

HP-Runes-The-Light-Trio-700ml-smallThis Whisky is also 17yo old, there are also 28.000 bottles available and the RSP is again 190 pounds. It is bottled at 52,9% abv, again like The Dark, but seasoned in refill American oak casks (I guess ex-Bourbon). It was released in April 2018 and the Name is – once more – written in runic on the bottle and the frame (which is not black this time, nor is the bottle).

Distillery: Highland Park
Age: 17yo
Cask: American oak casks (Bourbon)
Alcohol: 52,9%
Colour: golden
Info: n.c.a., n.c.f., cask strength

Nose: Quite refreshing, some lemon, also vanilla and pepper combined with a nice touch of flowery notes.

Palate: Some highland ginger, toffee, some spices but also fruity.

Finish: Very long and warming, very nice indeed.

Overall: As I said in the tasting notes of The Dark, it is a very nice Whisky. Usually I tend to like Whiskys from Sherry Casks more than from ex-Bourbon Casks but in this case, it was the other way around. I’m happy that I managed to get a sample from this Whisky too, as this nice fluid sunshine is unfortunately not in my price range.

My rating: 19/20/20/22 = 81 out of 100.

Till next time, all the best and

Slainte Lukas