Scotch Whisky Review #371: SMWS 4.255 “When pineapple met pigeon” Highland Park 17 Year Ex-Jamaican Rum Barrel Finish (2013)
Distillery: Highland Park.
Age: 17 Year. Distilled on September 5, 2002.
Cask Type: Ex-Bourbon, finished in Refill Jamaican Rum Barrel
Cask Number: 4.255.
ABV: 56.8% Cask Strength.
Color: 0.5, Yellow Gold. Natural Color and Non-Chill Filtered.
Nose: Very fruity with tons of pineapple. Slightly bitter notes of mineral water come through as well.
Palate: Much like the nose teases, it’s a ton of pineapples. It’s a mix of fresh pineapples and canned ones with a lot of the syrup notes comething through. Then comes the hard, bitter note of mineral water. It is a touch hot. A few drops of water make the hard mineral notes stronger, so strong that the pineapple disappears. A few more drops does the opposite. Pineapple rules the day here, mainly the canned version with tons of the syrup to go around.
Finish: Short. Minerally at first but it goes away with enough water. More of those canned pineapple notes here.
Conclusion: Those who have read enough of my reviews will know that the two distilleries on the island of Orkney and I don’t tend to get along particularly well. I did have a bit of hope though for this one, given that the only Highland Park to date that I have loved is one that was one finished in a non-traditional cask. I have to say, I don’t know how long this was finished in rum, but a little longer (or even a full maturation) and I think I would have loved it. It has a strong tropical vibe, though I wish some more fruity flavors would’ve come through beyond just the pineapple, and the bitter mineral notes that I find with Orkney whiskies seems to be largely kept in check by them. Some more of the rum might have built up those tropical fruit flavors deliciously and given this the depth that it needed. Overall, not bad!
Final Score: 77.
Scotch Whisky Review #371, Island Review #55, Whisky Network Review #525
- 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.