Review – Gordon & MacPhail Highland Park 1989

After not reviewing a Highland Park for quite some time here’s my second one in a week…

This time instead of hailing from far off legendary viking lands this particular expression comes all the way from the legendary warehouses of Gordon & MacPhail (in itself a whisky geek Valhalla), in which it has been resting since 1989.

I’ve had the sample for a quite a while now so it is probably long overdue that I take a look at it.

Distilled in 1989 and matured in a refill sherry butt until bottled at 57% abv in 2019. It is non chill filtered and presented at its natural colour in a 613 bottle out-turn.

Highland Park 1989, 29 yo, IB (Gordon & MacPhail), 57%abv (press sample)

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The nose is immediately beguiling. There are wafts of old sherry and at 57% it is quite punchy. There are big hints of spices and sticky dates, alongside dutch apple cake, old paper, hints of cedar and tiny touches of struck match and charred vanilla. Quite woody but not to its detriment.

It is lighter in the mouth than I had anticipated with elements of gentle black tea, finely grated dark chocolate and subtle tobacco. Given time it really opens to showcase unlit cigars, maple and pecan pastries and mouth drying cedar.

The finish is heavily spiced and mouth drying. Ginger cake and coffee (varying between fresh espresso and a chocolatey mocha) The wood influence increases as we progress and the chocolate builds from softer milk chocolate to 80% cocoa.

Adding a few drops of water really brought out the wood influences, however at times a little too much. Another few splashes and it calms again, bringing out the softer and more buttery nature of the dram. I would recommend either no water or a fair splash. Water only seems to work at either extreme.

Intense, beguiling and intriguing with a nose you could get lost in, a palate that is as wide as it is deep and a finish that lingers seemingly forever.

Wonderful stuff indeed. Sadly it sold out quite some time ago.

You can find more tasting notes and whisky news in the Amateur Drammers Archives.

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