A couple of months ago, we ran a piece on 4 new Highland Park bottlings, which were going to be released exclusively to travel retail. You can read the main post here, but we were shy of tasting notes for the oldest and most anticipated of the 4- the 1973 Vintage...until now that is.
Whereas the younger vintages were all bottled at 40% abv, the 1973 vintage takes on a higher 50.6% abv, which serves to remind just how characterful Highland Park can be. Taking its inspiration from the Norse influences, which Orkney is renowned for (including the Oseberg ship, a ninth century sailing vessel) this dram completes the well thought out quartet of bottlings.
We made the assumption that if the other 3 were like travelling by luxury class flights, this one must be like owning your own private jet. Let's find out...
Highland Park - 1973 Vintage - 50.6% - Exclusively bottled for travel retail-
Nose: Immediate notes of cedar and citrus give this a very youthful bouquet, which is most surprising. Dig deeper and some lovely perfumed elements start to show through, lavender, rose scented talc and a slightly earthy, woody tone. With the addition of water, a minute hint of wood smoke enters the fray. A great balance indeed.
Palate: Unmistakable Highland park in the mouth- with sweet milky coffee, some white chocolate covered raisins, vanilla ice cream and lemon/orange sherbets thrown in for good measure. The added water brings out a little pronounced pepper, but does little to dent the overall sweetness of this excellent dram.
Finish: The fruity notes remain the most prominent, with a touch of drying wood creeping in as the palate dries. Lovely, lengthy and highly drinkable.
Overall: Highland Park have such an inimitable style and this vintage sits comfortably amongst the most enjoyable ones. Of the 4 new retail vintages, I would plump for the 1990, which I think edges this one into 2nd place by virtue of the wonderfully blackcurrant notes on the nose, but should you find yourself on a long flight from Terminal 5, you could do a lot worse than seek out a bottle of any of these.