Highland Park Twisted Tattoo 16 Year

Scotch Review #101: Highland Park 16 Year Twisted Tattoo

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Distillery: Highland Park

Region: Orkney Islands

ABV: 46.3%

Age: 16 years.

Casks: Aged in ex-Bourbon, finished in Rioja-seasoned barrels

Price: Can’t remember, I think it was like $13 for a pour?

Color: 1.2, Chestnut / Oloroso Sherry. Natural Color but it is Chill Filtered.


Nose: A mix of sweet and savory. You get a hint of medicinal peat but it’s matched companied by a bit of sweet smoke as well. It’s rather subtle and not overbearing.

Palate: Another mix of sweet and savory. It starts of on the sweet side of things with a hint of apples and raspberries. There’s a light bit of smokiness that starts to roll in as you’ve had it sitting in your mouth for a few seconds, almost like you’re smoking those light fruity notes in your mouth. With the smoke comes a tiny hint of peat, some charcoal smoke, some smokey malt barley, and a bit of smoked gouda. With a bit of water, the smokey/savory notes get muted and the sweeter ones come to the forefront more. Caramel and crème brulee are introduced to join that hint of fruit.

Finish: Fairly long, it lingers for a bit. It picks up right where the palate finishes off with a light bit of smoke, a bit of peat, and a bit of that smoked gouda. Some caramel and crème brulee round this one out.

Conclusion: As sacrilegious as it is to say, I can’t say I’ve been the biggest fan of Highland Park. Every one of the few I’ve tried has somehow rubbed me the wrong way. This one, on the other hand, is fantastic. It’s a very good marriage of sweet and savory with neither completely overpowering the other. There’s lots of complexity and layers of flavor, especially in that little bit of a transition between the sweet fruit from the front end to the more savory smoky notes on the back end. Would I buy a bottle? If I can find one, absolutely and perhaps even a second.

Final Score: 90.

Scotch Whisky review #101, Island Whisky Review #18, Whisky Network Review #132


Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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