Cadenhead’s Highland Park 28 Year (1988)

Scotch Whisky Review #342: Cadenhead’s Highland Park 28 Year (1988)

Distillery: Highland Park.

Bottler: Cadenhead’s.

Region: Island.

Age: 28 Year. Distilled in 1988. Bottled in 2016.

ABV: 55.5%.

Cask Type: Sherry Butt.

Price: Sample courtesy of /u/FederalAgents.

Color: 1.3, Russet/Muscat. Non-Chill Filtered and Natural Color.

This is the 7th installment of this years’ Christmas Countdown. You can see the 2020 edition here and 2019 edition here.

This whisky was reviewed blind.

Nose: It’s quite strong on the nose, it really clears the sinuses out. When I got past the initial onslaught of alcohol, there’s a bit of orchard fruit. Apples are the main one, and it is notes of apples that are just about to turn and start to ferment. There’s a gassy, mineral-y element here as well.

Palate: It’s super hot and really does need some water. I can’t taste anything at full strength but thankfully it does calm down quite well with a few drops of water. There are metallic notes with a bit of acetone. It’s quite mineral-y, like a super hard mineral water. A hint of apple cider comes around the back.

Finish: Medium in length. There’s a hint of burnt ends that makes it through the sea of metallic and mineral notes.

Guess: It has to be Highland Park. It’s definitely 55%+ ABV. Probably 20+ years of age.

Reveal: Cadenhead’s Highland Park 28 Year (1988)

Conclusion: /u/FederalAgents isn’t the first to have tried giving me a blind pour of Highland Park to see if he could break past my aversion to it (/u/KissMeElon‘s best Highland Park also fell victim to it). Unfortunately, I think it’s more than just a mental association now. Even blind, Highland Park is largely just okay for me at best and actively poor at worst. I really want to know what it is, I’ve speculated it’s literally something in the water on Orkney but who knows at this point. This was decent as I do enjoy mineral water, but it was far from something I’d prefer. If you’re reading this and thinking you should try a bottle, I’d ignore my ramblings and go for someone who actually does care for Highland Park because I’m just going to lead you astray.

Final Score: 73.

Scotch Whisky Review #342, Island Review #51, Whisky Network Review #492

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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